Recently had a friend ask me what I do to disciple and invest in my kids.  Thought I’d share my response here:

Investing in your kids starts first with your passion for Christ and second in your pursuit of your wife.  Psalm 127 is one of my favorite scriptures for fathers.  God has to be the builder of our household otherwise it won’t work because we’ll be doing it by our own strength and wisdom (which we all know is deeply flawed).  Our wife and our kids have to see Christ’s work in us and through us or all this stuff below will do is create either legalists or rebels.  Our goal is to give them a big and clear picture of Jesus, root their identity in Him (not school, friends, or girlfriends/boyfriends), and help them take ownership of their faith.  This cannot happen if I tell them not to fight with their siblings and I yell at mom or them and don’t clean it up.  I can’t tell them to grow in their faith and not model the life of a man fighting every day to root myself in God’s means of grace through the scriptures, prayer, and godly men who hold me accountable to my leadership.  I can’t tell them to be bold in their faith if they never see me engage with my neighbors and live on mission.

Here is how I think and live out a day of discipleship with my kids:
Morning – Character building time: We do breakfast together and we read progressively through Psalms and Proverbs.  I don’t read a whole chapter per se, but get to one key truth that sticks out to the kids.  Then we drive to application of what that will look like in their life today.  When they get home and we do dinner its the first thing we talk about.  It starts a community of accountability to see how they are living out their faith and not just learning information.

Dinner – Gospel building Time: We slowly move through one chapter of the bible together.  Right now we are in John.  Each of my kids has their own bible and I encourage them to read along with me and to write in their bibles (as they are old enough to do so).  I read a small portion of scripture, depending on the length of the chapter and then we ask three driving questions – What is the main idea of what is going on, how does this point us to Jesus, and what does this mean for our lives?  Our kids are young so this can be crazy but I always want this to be fun, interactive, and drive towards application.  This opens itself up to teachable moments where you can catch your kids doing good and praise them for it.
Two other important things we do at dinner is to talk about the high’s and low’s of their day.  This gives you the chance to talk about their lives and really find out what’s going on.  Secondly, I always come prepared to talk about a world event.  Recently the Haiti tragedy has given us some good time to talk about the greater world around them.
I always finish by having one of our kids pray the truth we learned over our family.

Bed Time – Teachable Moments: I put the kids together with Cherise every night and we have light reading and down time with the kids.  I’ve attached a reading curriculum that someone sent me a few years back that is good for ideas on other books that are good to read with your kids.  We just read through the Chronicle of Narnia series together.  I am big on having my kids read so we’ll read together, talk about it, and then they read by themselves for about 30 minutes.  This is also a great time to linger with one of your kids and have open talk time.  I’ve found that if I lay in bed with them and let them talk that this is where I really find out who they are and what is going on in their lives.  I finish up by praying with each of them individually.

Dating Your Kids – Relationship Building Time: Once a month each kid will get a date with me or Cherise.  We’ll take them out to eat alone or out for ice cream.  I want my boys to know that they are important and I want them to know how to treat a woman when they get older.  I want my daughter to know what to expect from a man and how a man of God should pursue her.  I also do a daddy breakfast once a month with everyone that is school aged and just have fun and tell silly stories.

Overall, I want my kids to see:

  • Me pursue Christ so they have a model of Godly leadership
  • Me pursue their mom so they have a model of covenant relationships
  • Me pursue them with intentionality because they are valuable to me and Christ

Best devotional book for your kids (this is the one I read with the little guys every night):

Great book for how to raise your son:

Raising your daughter:
Haven’t read this yet but it looks promising:

Here are some great audio resources on parenting:

Hope this stuff helps.