Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Together We Grow

Eight years ago, I went to a Mom's retreat. It was great to have some time for myself and connect with other women. During the retreat, the women shared about how they were sharing their faith with their children and trying to instill values in their lives. I was so excited to start doing this in my own family's life that I bought these great little cards from something called "The Virtues Project." These cards contained a different virtue such as friendliness, courage, tact, perseverence, thankfulness, etc. and then explained what that word meant as well as examples of how to live it out. I was very excited to bring it home and start it with my family.The funny thing was that my daughter was only 1 yr. old at the time and could hardly talk! So they sat in a drawer until about a year ago. Then I brought them out and have tried to use them as part of our family devotion time.
I don't know about all of you but this part of our lives feels...well a little clunky. This is not something that I did growing up in my own family but we also went to religious schooling every day, so I'm sure my parents felt like it was "covered." As for my family now, we too are very involved at church. My children are a part of many different programs at the church where they are learning about God, engaging in prayer, singing, learning Bible verses, etc. We pray at every meal together and before bed and we have theological conversations everyday but still I felt like we were missing something together as a family. I have several different devotions that I use for myself personally everyday but have struggled a bit finding something that works for our family (and the different ages the kids are). So in the past month or so, I have really tried to make this more of a priority. 
So we use our cards from the Virtues project. We each close our eyes and pick a card and that is our virtue for the next week or two. We read together about what those virtues really mean (it's a good vocabulary lesson too :-) and each day we give examples of how we lived that virtue in our own life. It was really cute the other day when Jonah (my 3 year old son) whose virtue right now is "thankfulness" came up to me and after I fixed his coat that had been inside out, looked at me and said "thank you, see I'm being fank-a-less" (he keeps calling thankful, thankless or in his words, fankaless :-) But he's getting it and the kids are all pointing out when they are living out a virtue at home and of course pointing out when one of their other siblings is NOT living out their virtue very well :-)
In addition to our virtue, we are each working on a different Bible verse that we are not only trying to commit to our memory but also be more purposeful about living out. We have also read a devotion from a place I've checked out online, though I have to admit I'm probably not going to stick with that particular devotional because it's not exactly what I'm looking for.
I just know that it's important to grow together in our faith. I have found that I not only teach them but just importantly, they teach me. I get to see things through the eyes of a child and there is a profound blessing in that. But it's not always easy, sometimes it does feel a little clunky, especially if it is something new. You may even find some resistance from your family but I encourage you to give it a try. I would love to hear stories  of what some of you may be doing to grow together with your family. So share away! We can learn from one another as well as support and encourage one another in the process!

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