I recently took my family on a haunted ghost tour in the historic district of St. Augustine, Florida. While I don’t buy into the haunted graveyard stuff and paranormal images in my cell phone pictures, I did enjoy the trip. My wife and I were content to know that we basically paid $20 for some woman in a bonnet to babysit our daughter while we trailed along behind them with our baby on a nice casual stroll through St. Augustine.
Our daughter, fascinated with the stories she was hearing, stood no further than about nine inches from the bonnet-bearing tour guide at any given moment. My guess is that tour guide got an ear full of questions about paranormal activity and probably learned more than she cared to about our little girl’s desire to be a CSI one day. Needless to say, we got our money’s worth out of the tour, and I’m sure Mrs. Bluebonnet probably got way more than she bargained for as well.
On the car ride home, my wife sat in the back to tend to the baby, and our daughter sat next to me snuggled up with a blanket in the front seat. Our conversation naturally revolved around our experience touring the town, so I made it a point to get my daughter’s perspective on everything she’d seen and heard that evening. While the tour was quite entertaining, I wanted to be sure to clarify any misconceptions about reality she may have taken away from the fanciful tales she’d heard. Fortunately, I learned that my daughter has a very keen awareness of what the Bible teaches about life, death and eternity.
When she told me she didn’t believe much of what she’d heard, I probed her to elaborate further. To my surprise, she began giving me an earful of what she knew to be true about our Christian faith and what the Bible teaches about life after death. The conversation then turned toward the topic of spirits and demons, and I asked if she could give some biblical examples of what she was talking about. She then gave me numerous accounts from the Gospels about Jesus and his various encounters with what Mrs. Bluebonnet might have deemed as “paranormal activity.”
As you might guess, I was one proud daddy that night. Not only did I get to spend time with my gorgeous bride on a romantic ghost tour through downtown St. Augustine, but I also got a solid half-hour discussion in with my daughter about Christian doctrine and the beliefs of others outside our circle of faith.
I realize, when people talk about the parents’ role as the “primary disciplers” of their children, it seems like an insurmountable task. School, sports, laundry, yardwork, church, laundry, business trips, vacations, and more laundry… with the unending load of day to day busyness, how could we possibly make time to add “Discipleship 101” as another elective in life?
Given this recent experience, however, I feel confident in saying, you don’t have to make time, the time is already there.
If we’re going to bring our children along with us in our faith (to the point that it really sticks after they leave for college) then we’re going to have to get creative and capitalize on the time we already have to speak truth into their lives. Our goal is not to cover every nook and cranny of the Bible by the time they turn 18; our goal is to make the most of the discussions we’re already having and to trust God to fill in the cracks as time goes on.
Make no mistake; the moments you spend together in the car belong to you. You control the radio; you control the windows; you control the discussion that takes place. Be smart, and use it to your advantage. If we can develop a habit of capitalizing on car rides to discuss things that really matter, then our faith will not only become more a part of who we are, it will shape who our kids are becoming.
Make room for your kids. Make room for Christ. Capitalize on car rides.