The Gift of a Good Morning
I love morning. It is easily my favorite time of day. As kids, Saturdays were the highlight of the week because it meant we would wake to the smell of bacon and pancakes cooking in the kitchen. We knew that we would descend the stairs to find the table set for a feast and we would all gather for a time of discussion and laughter together. That memory has become a life giving part of who I am today.
So…with the reality of many competing interests in our world like family events, school and job requirements, sports teams, the technology industry, and church involvement, the task of crafting a life with meaningful relationships with God, family and others can seem overwhelming.
What if we could simplify our approach?
Think Orange by Reggie Joiner gives us a helpful strategy for doing just that. Reggie eloquently illustrates that families will have about 3000 hours per year to influence the lives of their children. About 40-60 of those hours will be spent in church. The rest of that time is largely unplanned…breakfast time, after school hours, evening hours, weekends, school holidays and summer vacation.
So if you consider that each of those hours awake has a value, just like a dollar bill has value to be spent, what will you do with each hour? How will you focus your efforts to make those hours really count?
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (New Living Translation) gives us great instruction for using our time in a way that will influence our children to grow to love God with all their heart, soul and strength.
4 “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.[a] 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.
Reggie goes on to talk about these times of day and I like to call them “Gifts”…the gift of life on the road, the gift of life around the house, the gift of bed time and the gift of a good morning.
If we can become intentional and maximize the impact of these times together, we can increase our capacity to make a lasting impact in the hearts of our children one day at a time.
So what does a good morning look like? Simply put, we aim to meet our kids primary needs for love, purpose and hope in the way that God meets ours. Here are a few things to consider.
GREET YOUR CHILDREN AFFECTIONATELY
What better way is there to start the day than with a warm hug and a smile? Kids have a “skin hunger”… a longing for healthy touch from trustworthy people. Kiss them on the top of the head. Tickle them. Swing them around. It makes them feel loved.
You are the mirror that a little soul sees himself in…so take care what is reflected in your eyes and face. I like to extend the “I am so happy to see you look” as if it’s been so long since the last time we met. Essentially we want to fill that little life up with the knowledge that he is deeply loved by us to start the day. Affection is a powerful first step.
EAT BREAKFAST TOGETHER
It cannot be stressed enough how beneficial it is to sit down and eat with your kids. It’s a lost opportunity for so many homes. We can be teaching the value of good food as well as sitting together and enjoying the social camaraderie around the table. So many families are on the run, shoving sugar laden junk food into their kids hands. We can do better. Plan for simple things like a baked omelet or cereal or oatmeal with fruit that you can fix quickly. Sit with them. It gives value to their lives and the meal. Don’t stress about the cleanup. Have kids help put their own dishes in the dishwasher or toss everything in the dish pan and let it soak. The cleanup will go quick.
GIVE THEM AN ENCOURAGING THOUGHT
Somewhere in the course of that morning you want to give them a parting thought to carry in their heart for the day. Shine a light on the value of their purpose in this world. Catch them doing something well and speak words of affirmation into their hearts. Tell them a short, interesting story about an act of kindness someone did for you or something that inspired you personally. Let them know you are cheering them on as they go out of your house to take on the day. It could be something like:
“I am praying for you today.”
“Be a good friend to someone today.”
“Hey, I noticed you tying your brother’s shoes…thank you for being kind.”
“It made the morning easier when you poured the juice for everyone…thank you for helping.”
“How about if we all try to find someone to help today and share our stories tonight at dinner?”
“Do you think we could keep our eyes on the lookout for someone who seems sad today?”
“Let’s be kind to someone today.”
When we do this we are giving them something to strengthen their hearts. We want our kids to walk out that door with the secure feeling of being deeply loved and armed with the power of a significant purpose from the God who created everything when they engage with others in the culture of this world.
You may be asking, well, don’t we have to quote chapter and verse about the reasons why and explain the how to our kids. Honestly, there is a place for teaching scripture in the home, but what we are talking about with the gift of a good morning is living the scripture without words. It’s a life of love and purpose with your kids. They need to see it and hear it without it being a preachy, naggy thing. You are creating an atmosphere around them. It’s casual, but it’s real.
In future posts we will talk about how to bring in times of devotion and prayer as well as the other gifts for influencing your children with God’s love and grace.
The best thing you can do right now? Plan to start this morning. Be adventurous! Keep it simple and learn as you go! Go ahead, friend! Make your 3000 hours count!
For more information about how you can put all of your Trust in the Lord, call Mt. Moriah Ministries at (518) 426-4510