Informal Moments


Getting ready for school. Eating a quick breakfast. Driving the kids to school. Driving them to soccer practice, piano lessons, dance and martial arts. Homework time. Dinner time. TV time, finally, bedtime! "Whew!" These are all moments in a child's day. Moments that can slip by unnoticed. 86,400 seconds slip past us each day. We can make an impact in our child's life in just a few seconds: a hug, a smile, a high five, a kiss, a compliment, a laugh or a tear. Each day is a blank white board with endless possibilities to add to a child's life - to make her feel loved, to make him feel capable, to help her feel connected, to model for him your passion for God. Or we can let these seconds go by, untapped, and at the end of the day we've made no impression. No lasting memory. No deeper impact of faith. Just a blank whiteboard of a day. Capturing those fleeting seconds for eternity should be our ambition. What can you draw on the whiteboard of your child's heart? How can you leverage those fleeting moments for something of value and lasting significance?  Deuteronomy 6:4-9 provides a simple plan to capture those informal moments and make them significant.

'Talk as you sit at home.' - Do you take time to actually sit at home? Or are you always rushing to an activity? Do you actually take time to talk? Not the "Did you do your homework?" talk, but conversations about life, feelings, faith, people and problems?

'Walk and talk on the way.' - Invest those moments and hours you spend driving your kids by actually using some of the car time to talk about things that matter. Teens will want to listen to music and avoid talking, but say, "On one way, either to the event or coming back from it, we will talk. We can listen to music on the other leg of the trip." Take turns setting the agenda with your teen so it's not always you asking the questions. And don't forget about actual walking. Sometimes kids open up more on a walk than on a drive in the SUV.

'When you get up.' - We can be grumpy, irritable and rushed in the mornings, but that doesn't mean that it can't be a positive time that sets the tone for the day. Encourage everyone to greet each other with a "Good morning," or "How did you sleep?" It's a simple act of caring, but it shows consideration and sets a better mood than, "Get out of the bathroom! Your eight minutes are up!" Ask your kids how you can pray for them that day. Then pray for them as you eat breakfast. "Father God, thanks for this food. May it gives us strength to follow you today and be like you. Help Jacob with his test, and help Brittany to pay attention in class. Amen."

'When you lie down.' - Of course, this can be the most influential time of the day with your kids. There are no other distractions or events to rush of to. They are relaxed and reflective. And they are stalling for a later bedtime! So work it! Take a few minutes to talk about joys, worries, fun things, friends, future events and faith. I like to ask, "Where did you see God show up in your life today?" Capturing these quick informal moments make more of an impression on our kids than we may realize.