There’s something hopeful about a new year. Perhaps it’s the relative emptiness of that monthly planner or Outlook calendar. Or, maybe it’s that it comes on the heels of a hectic December. Regardless, many of us view it as a fresh start, and we take the opportunity to set a few goals or resolutions for the new year.
It’s a noble effort, but it is estimated that as much as 80% of new year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. We tend to lose steam, or we allow daily challenges to cloud our vision. As parents, we hope to be successful in teaching and showing our children how to live a faith-filled life, but the “regular stuff” sometimes gets in the way of our best efforts to be intentional. Just as gym memberships go unused by the spring, some of our high hopes as parents fall by the wayside.
Here are five strategies for keeping your spiritual commitments with your children in the new year, and ensure that they grow “in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
- Have a daily time of prayer or devotion. Make it a part of your routine, whether it’s in the morning with they wake up, or in the evening before bed. Being consistent with this will help it stick.
- Make attending church a priority. If it’s a priority for you, it will be a priority for your kids. They will expect it. And, find a church home that places a priority on families and children. Your kids can – and should – love going to church.
- Keep open lines of communication. Ask your children if they have questions. Encourage them to come to you with any questions they may have – spiritual or otherwise. The only way they will be equipped to face the world is if you spend time preparing them.
- Make time for fun. Plan time weekly for just having a good time with the family. Maybe it’s a weekly family game night. In our case, we regularly have family dance parties and do silly dances to some of our favorite songs. These are memories our kids will remember forever. It’s a subtle reminder that walking with Christ is a joy-filled experience.
- Challenge your children to a monthly service project. Each month, find a way to do something for others. It could be simple like baking cookies for a neighbor, donating books to the local library. Or, it could be raising money for a local shelter or church project. Involve them in the process so they get excited about it. It’ll be a fun way for them to develop an “others” mindset.
Parenting is not easy. But, what worthwhile endeavor is? It’s a high calling, and the beginning of a new year is a great opportunity to refocus and be very intentional as we help our children be “salt and light” in in a world that desperately need it.
This article originally appeared in Journey Christian Magazine.