Whether you know it or not, you're in a battle. The battle does not end. It doesn't stop because you're busy. I've heard it said, "If the devil can't make you bad he'll make you busy."
At Manhood Journey, we don't want you too busy to have meaningful conversations with your child. I know I'm most intentional with conversations when I have a list in my mind of what to talk about. These four ideas are the framework you can use to maximize time with your kids.
So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. . . . Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. —Deuteronomy 11:18-19
Lots of you found The five vital principles for intentionally discipling your son helpful. So, we wanted to apply those principles into a framework for what you can use when you have a few minutes with your child. Maybe you don't have an hour to have a full-on Bible study with your child. But you can use these four ideas to more intentionally disciple your child—whether you have ten minutes or two hours.
1 Listen: Build the Relationship
If you're in an MJ Group, this is the time for you and your son to review the group time. But the point here is this: connect with your child. Resist the urge to jump in rushed just to check another thing off of your weekly to-do list. This step sets the tone.
Create a “porch moment” with your son. Think of The Andy Griffith Show, when Andy and Opie would sit and chat on their front porch in Mayberry. Andy asked questions of his son and then listened well to his responses. They talked about what was going on in Opie’s world—a world of schoolwork, sports, piano lessons, best friends, bullies, and girlfriends. Andy had a window into his son’s world because of these times spent talking—and mostly—listening.
2 Read: Get into God's Word
Take a moment to read the Bible. Don't get hung up on which part of the Bible. You're call. If you have a printed Bible, my expertise would say open toward the back three-fourths of the book. That'll be the New Testament. Much more fun for starting conversations than starting with the genealogies or revelations. Just my opinion. You do you, brother. Pick one book of the Bible and go verse by verse for starters.
Our 1 on 1 Guides were created for this purpose. Bible and questions. We tell you what to say and when to say it. But here's the point. If you never buy our guides, you still need to be intentional about discipling your son. So, take time to create a plan for keeping your conversations meaningful based on #1 Scripture and #2 what your son needs at the right moment.
3 Act: Apply the Word
This is the “so what” part. Maybe the verse you're on is about behavior change. Maybe it's about service or how to treat your neighbor. Do your best to apply truth in love.
It's okay to think of yourself, at this point, as that wise sage from Doctor Strange. Well, maybe you don't have all of the answers, but you're revealing another world to your child. Own it. It's awesome. I get it, not all verses are about handing out a meal. Does your church have a minstry that needs your help? This is the type of question you should ask yourself on this step. Overtime, you'll notch several life applications and have memories that connect back to the why of Scripture. We call this biblical fatherhood.
4 Pray: Talk with God
When you use our resources, we advise you close time with your son with prayer, simply talking with God about what you're learning and praying for your son. This can be a powerful time to see God work overtime.
With all four of these ideas, try and see this time not as one more thing to do in an already busy week. But, make it a part of what you're already doing. Maybe over dinner one night a week. Or, hit the Starbucks with your son before school. No prearranged lecture. Just a Bible and the four ideas for meaningful conversation. The point is to not make this weird and awkward, but to enjoy this time with your kids. These brief moments will be what wield you together.
By the way, the four ideas you just read about, these are the framework for every single session in our 1 on 1 guides. It's the framework we designed to give you ideas and a basic structure for spending time with and having meaningful conversations with your child. You're welcome.
Additional MJ Resources
We have several tools to help you disciple your child 1 on 1 or in a small group. Visit our Resources Page for the full gamut but check out a few highlighted below.
Ryan Sanders is the Director of Outreach at Manhood Journey. Ryan is married to Tonia and they have two daughters and one son. He lives in Reston, Virginia, serves at McLean Bible Church as a regional leader and is a diehard Washington Redskins fan. Learn more about Ryan here and find him on Twitter @RyanSanders.