the most important thing we learned this summer

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my post from the first day of school:

 

Of course, what it doesn’t say is “we did it…we all made it to the end of summer in one piece!”  Because let’s be honest, summer is fun but it can be hard to be out of a routine for almost 3 months and Momma is T.I.R.E.D.

It also doesn’t expound on the most important thing we learned this summer.

I promised in my previous post to tell you more about our summer adventures and especially about our favorite week of the entire summer.

This summer, we went to Pine Cove Family Camp.

It was hands down the absolute best week of our entire summer and I might go as far as to say it may have been my favorite week EVER!  Jared and I love camp.  If you’ve followed me very long, you may have read my post entitled 11 Reasons Your Child Cannot Miss Summer Camp.  We don’t just like camp, we believe in it and the minute we found out we could do camp as a family, we were researching just what we had to do to sign up.

And let me tell you, Pine Cove Family Camp far exceeded our expectations and taught us the most meaningful lesson we learned this summer.

We wanted to make this summer count and not just this summer.  We want to make our influence count.  Because if you didn’t know, parents have the single most influence of any person on the spiritual development of their children.  We want to steward that influence well and we want to help others do it too.  It is why we wrote Home: A Devotional for Families.  It is why we invest time and money into our children’s spiritual development.  And we are always looking for ways we can be intentional in setting a firm spiritual foundation for our children.

So, let me share with you what we learned.  We were challenged by our camp pastor, Ben Mandrell, to establish Family Values that articulate and remind parents and children of what is most important in your family.  It holds you accountable and provides a meaningful tool for correction and discipline.  When Jared & I heard this idea we were stoked!

We went back to our cabin and immediately got to work.  We created our own Allen Family Values and we want to help you create Family Values for your family as well!

When we determined our eleven values that would define our family, we printed and hung it up near where we eat together as a family.  I wasn’t sure how the kids would respond but they like it.  They roll their eyes when I correct a behavior or attitude by having them go read which value they need to correct, but I’ve heard them talking about it.  They even correct our behavior or attitudes based off our family values and I’m okay with that because that means they are catching on.

Would you like to create a list of family values for your own family?

Here are some easy ways to do it:

  1. First, create the list with your spouse.  Don’t do it alone.  You both should have input.  Depending on the age and maturity level of your children, you can have them join in with you.
  2. A list of character traits is a great place to get started.  But don’t feel confined to the list.  There were traits we didn’t find on the list that Jared and I considered important that we added to our list.  I’ve found a few lists online that are good such as:
    1. http://character-in-action.com/character-trait-definitions/
    2. http://graceonlinelibrary.org/home-family/christian-parenting/49-godly-character-qualities/
  3. Individually work your way through the list highlighting or marking which traits are most important to you for your family.  You may need a few days or a week to pray over them.
  4. Come together as a couple and compare the lists.  There will be some you aren’t willing to budge on but be willing to compromise and create a list of family values.  There is not a magic number for your final list.  However, a list of too many traits will be overwhelming and will likely receive less attention than a shorter list where individual values can be emphasized.
  5. We chose to attach a scripture with each value but it isn’t necessary.
  6. Type the list up, print it out and put it in a place in your home that is seen and easily accessible.
  7. Take time as a family to talk about your family values, what they mean and how you can put them into practice.

Seriously, this has been transformative for our family.  My kids are at a great age to understand it but I think any age is appropriate.  It is never too late to do something intentional to communicate what it means to be part of YOUR family.

God designed the family as the primary means of discipleship for children and we all need some help and support and some good ideas along the way.

 

what are some ways you are intentionally investing in your children spiritually?

share your ideas in the comments

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. I love this, Bobi Ann! We’ve heard before about having a family mission statement, etc., but we honestly haven’t done that either at this point. I’d love for us to do this. Pray that we’ll make it a priority and do it!

    I think we are very intentional with investing spiritually in our family. The kids and I have Bible readings and devotionals at least five mornings a week, and both kids are doing their own Bible readings and devotionals before bed now. We memorize Scripture together, sing all kinds of songs together (praise, hymns, Bible verses), address behaviors, attitudes, emotions, etc. with Scripture, pray together, etc. We serve in many ways together as a family. We pray for others. I love something new we started this summer: we’re asking the kids every night “How did you see God work today?” or “How did God reveal Himself to you today?” I think it’s important for them to hear Mom’s and Dad’s answers to these questions as well, but we don’t share ours every night… I’m feeling long-winded, so I’ll stop now. 🙂 Thank you for encouraging us to be intentional with our kids’ spiritual growth!

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