Confession: Doing the weekly Homefront activities with my kids is like aiming at a moving target. I must have some picture in my head of the perfect family quietly nestled down for family devotions. My family never looks like that picture. Even when we do manage to pull off the activity, I’m not always great about pulling in “the right” application point.
Case in point: Last week we played a dramatic game of hide-and-seek in our small apartment. This challenge highlighted the competitive nature of everyone involved, mostly my husband and me. See, when there aren’t many places to hide you have to be very creative and flexible. Literally, you have to have great flexibility in all extremities to pull off a good hiding spot in our house. As I crouched in the shoe basket inside our front closet, holding my breath behind the winter coats I remembered how fun it is to play hide-and-seek and how absolutely terrifying it is to be waiting and waiting, hoping not to get caught. At the same time, crouching in the shoe basket is pretty uncomfortable so I did want to be found…eventually.
My kids would have an easier time with the hiding part except for their complete inability to squash the giggles. They are still small and can fit in impossible places. They have every advantage in this situation, but they cannot stop laughing long enough to be missing for any length of time.
While I would like to claim the prize for best hider, in my heart I know it belongs to Bo, my 6’5″ husband who managed to squeeze his gigantic frame underneath an impossibly small twin bed. It was the last place I would have even thought to look for that man and the only reason he was found was that I had seen him run in that room to hide. (Yes, I’m a snitch. Once I’m found I want everyone else to be too.) Even then, when my son was pointing under the bed saying, “I found him!” I was not convinced he was telling the truth because I just couldn’t see how on earth he even got under there without disassembling the bed. Did I mention we are competitive?
What I wasn’t prepared for was how intense the game really was for my 8-year-old son. As I transitioned to gathering together for the Bible story of the shepherd searching for his lost sheep, I realized that he was actually terrified. The point of the Bible story took a back seat to the real need to deal with the fear that was triggered in my son’s heart. Our conversation took a completely different slant and we instead recalled verses about fear and the truth that God is with us always. We prayed. We cuddled. We worked through it together so that he could fall asleep that night without fear.
When I look back at that night, a piece of me feels that we didn’t “accomplish” what the paper told us to do…and the perfectionist in me is disappointed. On the other hand, I truly feel like we did in the moment what needed to be done–connect with our child and meet his emotional and spiritual needs…and the Spiritual Parent in me is delighted.
The goal of Spiritual Parenting is not to follow some rigid list of rules or merely manage our kid’s behavior. The goal is to pass on a vibrant, transforming faith to the next generation. Michelle Anthony, author of Spiritual Parenting says, “We can spend our hours or invest our days in what matters.” We can look for those opportune moments to redeem the time we have with our kids.
I tell you this story in case your target is moving too. Vibrant, transforming faith is not a static thing, but it is worth it!