This week I read a blog that caught my eye as we are talking about parenting. You can see the original blog here:
YouLead Research: The Importance of Family Time and Spiritual Growth
If you knew that there were three things that would help your families’ spiritual formation the most, would you encourage the parents and kids you serve to try them? If you had to guess what those three things were, what would you say?
Here are some interesting findings when it comes to the importance of family time and spiritual growth:
The Search Institute (2007) found that the three factors as predictors of faith development in teens were:
1) Frequency of discussions about faith with parents
2) Frequency of family prayer time
3) Frequency of shared family experiences and activities
We all want our kids to be better off than we are—financially, emotionally, and physically, but have you thought about spiritually? Lifeway did some great, more recent research about how to help kids grow spiritually, and it is directly tied to family time too.
Lifeway (2010) interviewed parents of young adults (ages 20-35) about what they did with their children that resulted in positive spiritual outcomes for them as adults. Among the top things listed:
- Regular family prayer time
- Students connecting with a leader at church
- Teens regularly serving at church
- Teens participating in ministry or service projects with their family
The bottom line take-away? Family time matters most.
These findings are particularly encouraging to me and helpful as a parent for a couple of reasons.
First of all, God has chosen to use my family in the development of my children…warts and all! Yes, we as a family struggle. Yes, I have “down” days and days where I just struggle to interact with my family with grace. Through all of that God works and is writing a story of redemption and change. Regular family time and prayer really helps this process.
Second, connecting my children with other adults who love Jesus is imperative! When my kids connect with other adults, they have a circle that they can share ideas with, ask questions of and share their lives with. This is good. Today, on the way to school I asked them who was in their lives that they trusted and my boys rattled off nearly 15 names. I felt incredibly blessed. Who can you intentionally connect your children with?
Third, serving together in some way is a big deal. Experiences where you get to be involved in seeing changed lives or making a difference truly change us! When a family does this together, the results are amazing. This can take the form of serving with your small group and involving your kids; finding ways to volunteer in your community (Hillcrest, Ronald McDonald House, Harvesters); or even taking the family on a mission trip of sorts.