I was failing to lead my family in any sort of consistent and meaningful spiritual development. We’d schedule weekly family devotions, but another ball game, practice, school project, or birthday party would usually prevail. We’d do quick daily devos with the flow of life, but my wife and I never felt like it was sticking. So I started to pray about this question. How do we train our kid’s to have our biblical values?
The first verse that came to mind was Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way they should go and when they grow old they will not depart from it.” What stands out to me is the word train. To train, you need a plan, and it must involve repetition, examples, and dialogue to ensure transfer. I realized I needed to simplify what values I wanted my kids to leave our house with, and come up with a multi-year training plan not just a weekly devotional plan. I simplified these values to twelve, one value for each month of the year.
The second verse that came to mind was, Habakkuk 2:2. It says “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. “ So first, I wanted a place to write them out where our kids would see them every day. Second, I wanted to clarify these values so they could run with them. This means they need to be able to remember them easily, repeat them readily, and be able to live them daily.
Here’s how it’s worked… For the last year, every month the value is posted on a huge chalkboard frame in our kitchen eating area. (See picture above) Every time we eat. Every night we pray. Every devotional time. Every time we are in the car together. Every date with the kids…. Every time it naturally presents itself, we try to talk about the value of the month. We talk about biblical character examples. We tell the Bible stories. We talk about other examples from friends, current events and history. And then we often invite the question, “Have you had an opportunity to live this value today?”
After a year of doing this, I must say it has been awesome! The kids love it and are really getting it. The list and strategy may get some edits but I look forward to five, ten years from now, doing the same thing each month. My ultimate prayer would be that these are some of the values they teach their own kids one day.
Below is our list and I welcome you to use it and see if this approach to spiritual development and devotion works well for your family.
January – We honor God with our actions, attitude and words.
Daniel 3 – Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Jonah, John 12, Mary washing Jesus feet, Esther
February – We encourage not discourage others.
1 Samuel 30:6, I Thessalonians 4:18 , Cup filler illustration, put courage in
March – We contribute to the needs of the family.
Ephesians 6:1-3, I Timothy 5:8, Chores, Responsibilities
April – We do not compare to others; what we have, what we do, or what we look like.
Exodus 20:17 , 2 Corinthians 10:12 , Philippians 4:12, Galatians 6:4
May – We tell the truth, regardless of the consequence.
Exodus 20:16, Even when it hurts
June – We honor our father and mother.
Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:1-3
July – We do our best and do it right.
Col 3:23-24, Luke 16:10
August – We think of others before ourselves.
Phil 2:1-11, Mark 12:30-31
September – We are responsible for our belongings.
Steward, care for, clean, Luke 16:10, I Corinthians 6:19-20
October – We obey God’s word, the Bible, our source of truth.
Hebrews 4:12, Psalm 119:105, Joshua 1:8
November – We worship God, not stuff, people, or accomplishment.
Exodus 20:3 , Matthew 6:19-21, Matthew 6:33, Romans 12
December – We are givers because God has given to us.
John 3:16, Acts 20:35, 2 Corinthians 9:7
Please comment and let me know if this is helpful. Let me know what I should add, or what you would add to your family’s.
Do you have a plan for your family’s spiritual development?
Do your kids know what your family values are?
What do you want your kids to value when they leave the house?