by Cara Railey/ April 5, 2017
Sometimes the little details of life eat my lunch. I have found this to be very true on school mornings.
There seems to be so much to do and a hard deadline on when all tasks must be completed and we have to be out the door. I have three school-age boys, and making sure they are all dressed, groomed, fed, packed up, and out the door on time can get a bit hectic. Last year I was noticing that, while all tasks were completed and we were making it to school on time, it would be a stretch to label our mornings as successful due to the frenzy and panic that dominated our mornings. Once we made it to the car, I spent the 12-minute drive teachings the boys on how they could better manage their mornings.
Then one morning during my devotional time, I read Jeremiah 12:5, “If you have raced with runners and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in a peaceful land, what will you do in the thickets of Jordan?”
I know at first read this doesn’t seem to be speaking to the craziness of school mornings, but I was immediately convicted about how I’m sweating the little things. My interpretation on this verse was this: If getting the boys dressed, fed, and lunches packed has me overwhelmed, how can I ever expect to handle the real stress that comes with parenting?
Care-taking isn’t the hard part of parenting; discipling is. I felt I was wasting the time I have with them on the little things and not focusing on what really matters. I decided I needed to get control of what I can control and structure our mornings so there was less stress and frenzy.
The boys and I made the switch to them packing their own lunches and backpacks and picking out their clothes the night before. We began setting the alarm 10 minutes earlier so we had a bit more margin. These adjustments meant our mornings were more calm. And once we did get in the car, there was a much better tone and an opportunity to have real discussion. We began to spend our 12-minute drive reading a devotion, having a short conversation, and a prayer. During the drive, we began using the . The devotions are short but relevant and meaningful. One of my boys would read the verse and the devotion, then each boy would share one thing they learned and how they could apply it.
To wrap up, I would give my thoughts and then one boy would pray. Now when I drop the boys off at school, they each have been encouraged in the Word and prayed over by one of their brothers.
This time has allowed for countless conversations about what’s happening in their lives and how God’s Word has the answer to any problems they’re facing. I’m praying this time together will instill three important values in the boys:
By the time my boys leave our home, we will have taught them many habits—whether it be hanging up clothes instead of throwing them on the floor or tithing and saving before spending. However, the most important habit we’re now teaching is spending time every day in the Word and praying.
By always taking time to discuss how Scripture applies to them, the boys are learning the Bible is their first stop for guidance and wisdom. I want them to not just read His Word and pray out of habit, but because they have experienced from an early age the Bible’s relevance to their lives
I want the boys to see how helpful it is to study the Bible with each other and learn from each other. I want spiritual conversations to be normal and comfortable, not awkward and only when they’re in trouble. Having spiritual conversations with my parents, close friends, and mentors have been pivotal in my personal discipleship, and my hope is that the boys will have the same experience throughout their lives.
This shift in our mornings from frenzied and chaotic to calm and meaningful has been a blessing for our family. If you don’t already have a family devotional time, the morning car ride can be a great starting point.