Do you ever feel like you’re in a rut with your routine and your kids? Shuttling them from one activity to another with conversations that revolve around the latest Dude Perfect trick shot, Fantasy Football standings, and their favorite Prime flavor?! While I truly LOVE hearing about all of these things, I can’t help but find myself longing for something deeper. A deeper connection with my children in our relationship and for my children in their relationship with the Lord. I know they must develop their own faith but isn’t it our job as parents to help lay that spiritual foundation and plant seeds as we depend on the Holy Spirit to grow in them something that we/they are not able to do on our own?
As I began to dream and pray about life, TAWG Time came to mind, a phrase I had not thought of in years! When I was in the youth group, I remember friends talking about having their “Time Alone With God.” They talked about it like it was normal, and I had no idea what they meant! I had never just sat in quiet with the Lord but I was intrigued. I took this idea and made it into something to fit our family.
If this is something you want to try with your kiddos, first, gather supplies! I bought a simple notebook and pencil pouch for everyone. Then added pens, pencils, scented markers and even scented glue sticks! Next, I started this google doc that has journal prompts for pre-k children and elementary kids too (save a copy and tweak the questions to fit your family). Lastly, set a consistent time to begin this new practice. Change can be difficult but by sticking to the same time everyday—for us, as soon as we get home from school—it is slowly becoming an expected part of our daily routine.
Introducing TAWG Time
The first day we tried this, was a precious memory for me! TAWG Time was new and the boys were excited about the special snacks and Prime drinks. We all went outside and I told them the story of Elijah from 1 Kings 19. Then, I explained that we would be spending 5-10 minutes each afternoon to simply be still with the Lord. I read three verses (Psalms 46:10, Psalms 27:14, Exodus 14:14) and had them draw or write what they thought this might look like.
Becoming Part of Your Routine
At the beginning of each week, I cut out a few journal prompts and put them in their pencil pouches. Most days, the boys choose a prompt they will think and write/draw about. However, some days we go outside and are totally quiet! If they need redirection I read them the verses about being still. Chip shared another way to focus his mind that he had recently learned by asking the boys to, “Think of a place where you feel totally safe. Then, picture yourself having a conversation with God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit.” I loved it! The whole point is to practice being still before the Lord so that they can make space to hear and to recognize His voice.
I found the most rewarding benefit to be that you, as the parent, get a front row seat to your child’s spiritual growth and insight! I am actually learning from my boys. I loved when Banks chose the prompt, “What thing in nature most reminds you of God?” He immediately said, “Easy. Butterflies. Because they don’t hurt people.” I will never look at a butterfly the same again!
What If There’s Resistance?
For me this was not a matter of IF but WHEN. Of course there are many days when everyone grumbles and says, “No! It’s too hot outside! I’m too tired!” But I stick with the routine and after more than a month of TAWG Time the complaining is getting less and less, because they know it’s not going to change the plan (everyone has their hard days as seen below).
So, What’s The Point?
This post is not meant to add one more thing to your plate or make spiritual growth about a checklist! Quite the opposite. I hope it communicates a desperation and desire for something more than what the culture is offering our families. We don’t have to keep ourselves (and our children) so busy that we can’t spare 10 minutes each day to be still and dwell on God’s goodness.
Come with expectation! This time will encourage you and gently remind our hearts that although we don’t have all the answers on how to navigate parenting, God does. And when we humbly seek His kingdom first, I am confident that He will always guide us in paths of righteousness, for the glory of His name (read Matthew 6:33 & Psalm 23).