Every home needs discipline to keep the family secure, stable, and sailing forward. I like to call these anchors because anchors offer stability and keep the most important parts of our days locked into place.
For our family, I have found meal times to be a terrific starting point. These times are used for nailing down some important disciplines or habits. Meal times are the few times per day I can get everyone together with little complaint. They are the thing I use to keep the daily disciplines in place. To keep them secure. To ensure they happen.
Maybe your anchor is right before bed. Maybe it's first thing in the morning. Whatever that time in the day is where you can best gather your children to pour into them, be diligent and intentional about using them. Make those your anchors--support for pouring into your children in some of the most life-changing ways you can.
I find there are 5 valuable tools to utilize these anchors throughout the day. Whether you choose to do the same thing for each (or every) anchor, or mix it up a bit, the goal is to do something every time, and keep it rather predictable.
Bible reading, scripture memory, and devotions
Oh this is an excellent time for many families to dig into their Bibles. We use breakfast for Bible study and devotions. It's a great way to start the day and all my children are already gathered at the table. We read through different books of the Bible, such as a Gospel, Psalms or Proverbs.
A wonderful way to look outside ourselves is to pray for those in need. From family and friends, to our communities, our country, and other countries. There are always needs. Right now we are focused on praying for Oklahoma.
Read alouds - literature, history, biography
I have several little ones who have a hard time sitting still and staying quiet if they don't have something to do. Even if they don't fully comprehend what I'm reading, it's important they are quiet so the rest of us can enjoy the read. It teaches them discipline, too!
Dinner time is a great time for family meetings or discussing anything that would fall under such a category. It doesn't have to officially be called a family meeting to make it so. Are there issues going on in the family that need to be addressed? Are children slacking in their responsibilities or behavior? This is a good time to figure out what's going on and what can be done to fix it.
Family conversation is a beautiful way to bring up important discussions such as, "Why would God allow the storms to kill all those people in Oklahoma?" Even if we don't have the answer to that question, it's still important to discuss these difficult questions and learn to trust God, even when we can't see His hand at work.
Talk about things going on at school or church. Allow your children to ask open questions without the worry of criticism.
When done regularly and consistently, these disciplines can shape and mature our children as they grow. They are kind of like stations for refueling, when done right.
How can such disciplines shape our children? Here are five ways:
They will feel confident.
The consistency of having the anchors in place makes a child secure in their environment. Knowing what to expect is important for children because they need predictability.
They will mature in the knowledge of the Lord.
Regular Bible reading, scripture memorization, and times of devotions are the some of the best ways to grow in the knowledge of the Lord. As children get older, add a little more responsibility to their growth by having them lead the Bible study or devotion time.
They will learn to think outside themselves and examine for themselves.
Having regular conversations where questions are open-ended, and answers are guided rather than given, children will learn to think on their own. In addition, times of prayer will help children think outside themselves and for the needs of others. Finally, they will see the power of God work through their prayers which is a huge testimony to the glory of God.
They will learn valuable life lessons.
These lessons will come directly from you. Whatever questions they have about things they are struggling with, whether in school or any other social activity, things they hear on the news, struggles they're having with a friend. If they choose to open up during conversation time, this is the opportunity for life lessons.
They will build memories.
Our children won't remember everything from their childhood. But they will remember those things that were most consistent throughout their child-rearing years. Make them count.
What other disciplines could be used in these daily anchors?
For His Glory,