Our family is in the middle of an epic seven week Camp KidJam summer tour. With kids aged 4-9, that means Dan and I are doing most of the important packing for them. To ensure that they have enough underwear, sturdy shoes and a toothbrush rather than only stuffed animals, stickers or 13 pounds of Legos.
Mid tour, we stopped for a mini vacation at my parents’ log cabin. We threw our giant duffle bags on the floor and sought out familiar couches, books, toys and cabin nooks. I was tempted to let everyone dig their own clothes out of the carryalls for the week, this was vacation, right?
But after the first request for a bathing suit, I quickly realized that despite careful packing, our clothes had become a crazy, jumbled mess on the long, bumpy, road trip.
Each time we had pulled into a new camp, we had burst out of the van eager to explore the grounds. But each week I had diligently taken the time to slow down, unpack everyone’s clothes, and organize them so they could easily see, choose, take, and use.
And I’m glad I did, because in the frenzy of the camp week, it had been totally worth that prep time to set my kids up to successfully navigate quick changes of clothes between transitions in the camp “schedule” in an unfamiliar space.
As I tore myself away from the cozy chair on the cabin’s sun porch to deal with the bags of clothes yet again, I couldn’t help but see a parallel as clearly as the sunbeams on the rustic wooden floor: that unpacking and preparation ought to be done as diligently and carefully in our kids’ spiritual lives as their physical ones.
As a parent, I’m responsible to set my children up for success. If I’m being intentional about passing on my faith, I’m not just handing them a Bible and expecting them to figure it all out on their own.
Until they’re capable, it’s my responsibility to carefully sort and set out the tenets of our faith in easy to reach pieces, to teach my children to pray like I taught them to put on their own socks, to carefully guide them in the art of curling up in God’s promises like a beloved fleece blanket, to invite them to delight in Psalmy worship like twirling in a freshly-laundered puffy skirt. To make the Bible and God’s character easy for them to see, choose, take, and use.
Like choosing clothes that fit my children and are appropriate for the season of the year, I ought to be making the Word of God and how to have a relationship with Him accessible to them on a level they can understand. Setting them up to succeed at this faith thing no matter the frenzy of life or schedule that is swirling around them.
How are you unpacking spiritual things to make it easy for your children to see, choose, take, and use?