When an older child says, “I am bored,” they are often saying, “I am starving for connection,” so giving them a list of chores doesn’t always meet the need but drives the isolation deeper. Partner with Holy Spirit when you hear your child declare, “I AM BORED,” to see if they are really crying out for healthy connection.
I have been growing discontent with leading my family spiritually. It is so easy to buy into the LIE that teens don’t want to engage, or that busyness is just a fact of life. I called a family meeting, and we had a deep heart-to-heart about our relationship with Jesus and how we operate as a family. I walked away so impacted by their hunger, even though it looks different now that they are older. We spent a lot of time processing, pondering, and praying about what it looks like to play in the Kingdom at their ages. One of the things we decided to do was each take a day of the week and lead family devotions. It was my turn, and I had them draw out a picture of themselves, and we passed the papers around in a circle, each adding what we saw inside of them (kindness, creativity, leadership, etc.). Then one person spoke over the person next to them who they are. It was so crazy simple yet life-giving. I feel such a renewed sense of hunger to keep going after their relationships with Jesus in a fresh new way.
Have you ever seen a plant that just desperately needs a drink? My daughter looked that way to me, so I told the others to find something to do for 30 minutes while I had an in-home date with her. I told her to meet me in the rec room in 5 minutes. She had no idea what was happening but was waiting for me. I walked in, handed her a drink, and told her I just wanted her all to myself for a few moments. Then, I asked her about her heart, life, friends, and school. When we were done 15 minutes later, her comment was, “I feel so alive.”
Just because we are with our kids ALL the time doesn’t mean we have their hearts. Ask Holy Spirit how you can creatively water their heart today in a unique and meaningful way.
How would your childhood have been different if you would have had a parent who consistently called out the good in you? BE THAT KIND OF PARENT TO YOUR CHILDREN TODAY!
I am convinced if the enemy can’t get you to turn from God, he uses busyness to get you distracted from God. Busyness is one of the top things that work against families. Too busy to connect. Too busy to hear/see your child’s heart. Too busy to play in the Kingdom. Too busy to rest. Too busy to get in their world. Too busy to empower/teach them. Too busy to work through heart splinters. Too busy to go to church. Too busy to worship as a family. Too busy to read the Word. Yep, you are TOO busy. Busyness is not the same as bearing fruit, and you have permission to say NO to the enemy’s trap of umpteen demands on your time and energy. I have a rule in my house – if I can’t do it in peace, then I won’t do it. I have said no to many good things but will not let even good things rob me of my peace or connection with my children.
Each morning, set up a date with your child. Five minutes feels like a long time for a child. They can pick whatever they want to do with your time, and they normally pick something they need from you – talk, spend time cuddling, or play a game. It is a great way to get those tanks filled and get you focused on hearing what they have to say! (Don’t tell them it is only five minutes, though). I like to make a big deal about it by saying something like, “Meet me in the living room at 2 pm today,” or “Let’s have a date, just you and me.” Love languages matter!
When was the last time family members used harsh tones, unkind words, or sent messages of disapproval? When was the last time family members gathered to call out the good, honorable, and kind things in each other? In a family, we will find the flesh, but we can cultivate the spirit by intentionally creating space to speak life and declare truth over each other. Gather and answer the following questions over each person.
What am I really good at?
What do you love most about me?
How have I helped you lately?
What do I add to the family?
How do you see Jesus in me?
Make up your own!
Face it, errands are a child’s least favorite ‘activity.’ Look for ways to engage them vs. just having them follow you around. Who can push the cart? Who can find the can of beans first? Who can open the door? Who can guess how long the line will take? Use the wait times to fill up their love tank and connect with their hearts (not check your phone). For older kids, empower them to help plan the menu and pick out the groceries. They can get out and wash your window while you pump the gas (I also have a child gather the trash from the car while I get gas). Make it fun and look for ways they can own part of the outing.
We wrapped up two glorious weeks in Colorado and were up early for our flight. There was so much joy and gratitude pouring out of each of us. That is until we were going through security. It was hectic and very chaotic. The crowd had a subtle push as everyone wanted to get through the security line without further delay. Hudson started getting agitated and was letting everyone around him know it. I would ask him to do something knowing there wasn’t much time to tinker around. He was obeying but with extreme exaggeration. It would have been almost comical if it wasn’t holding up the rest of the people. I became annoyed and upset with his attitude. I made a sharp comment about his attitude which only made things worse. On the train, I was able to take a breath and heard Jesus tell me that I needed to be a student of my son and to allow him to teach me what he needs in this new teen brain season. I apologized for my sharp words that focused more on his outward behavior than his heart. I told him what Jesus showed me because it is always important to me that my children know while I am their mother and to be respected, Jesus is their friend and cares about their hearts, too. I love it when Jesus shows me where I have misunderstood my child’s heart. He is their advocate and I want them to know it. While on the plane, he asked to sit by me which was his way of communicating he wanted to reconnect. I knew he wouldn’t value having a conversation in front of everyone so I wrote him a note. His reply caught me off guard. His frustration was not within himself, but rather stemming from my rushed and chaotic parenting. He is still a child at 14, while capable of much, still a child, and simply needed more time.