Thursday, July 14, 2011

Desiring the Kingdom: Habits for the (Home)(School)

After gleaning a dozen personal habits from my reading of James K. A. Smith's Desiring the Kingdom, I remembered that the book was written (and shared with me) to address education - Christian education.  How could a mother or teacher take these ideas and work a revolution in her home or class room?  How was I going to use these concepts in our own homeschooling?  What would these heart-forming habits look like for kids?  I've adapted the afore-mentioned habits to work with my kids on a home/school level, and I think any teacher or parent (homeschooling or not) could do the same with the children in his or her care.

  • Live a liturgical week.  Stopping to rest and worshiip with others on Sunday.  Also attending other, regular church functions throughout the week.
  • Live a liturgical year.  Develop in your children a desire for God through the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent and a celebration of Him during the seasons of Christmas and Easter.  Schedule times of seasonally-based worship and learning into your days just as you do other activities and curricula.
  • Shepherd your children toward baptism into the church.  Encourage their membership in the Kingdom and Family of God.  Teach them to prioritize this citizenship - this family.
  • When your children do make that step of faith into a new Kingdom and Family, welcome them and pray for and encourage them in their role as a fellow citizen and heir with you and the Church.  Make service to and within the community of believers accessable to them.
  • Every morning, before the day officially "begins," gather together to pray and ask God for His mercy and grace throughout the day.  (We do this at breakfast.) 
  • Gather again at other times of the day to pray.
  • During your morning gathering, also pray for God's guidance through the coming day.
  • Post The Two Great Commandments somewhere near your "gathering place" as a reminder for all.
  • Along with your regular Scripture memorization, have your kids memorize The Apostle's Creed.
  • Every morning, when most U. S. children are reciting the Pledge of Allegience together, lead your children in reciting The Apostle's Creed - our pledge of allegience to God and His Kingdom.
6.  PRAY
  • Set aside times throughout the day to pray together.  Pray for the needs of others.  Pray for guidance and wisdom for yourselves.
  • Set aside times throughout the day to read God's Word together.  Read it as a story from beginning to end or as segments picked out and read for instruction.
  • Give your children the time and resources to read God's Word daily on their own.  Encourage them to surround this time of Bible reading with prayer and praise to God.
  • Sing to the Lord together throughout the day at regular times.  Teach your children hymns and help them memorize Psalms.  Meal times and bedtimes are great stopping points to do this, but any set time of the day will do.
  • Play praise music during down times or during chore times.
  • Spend time talking with eachother.  Just because you are with eachother all day doesn't mean you need to neglect communication.  Make a point to spend time conversing and listening and teaching the children to do the same.
  • Make your house a welcoming home.  Regularly invite others in, and teach your children to be hospitable and inviting.
  • Make family meal times a priority.  And don't just content yourself to sit together in front of the TV to eat.  Most of the time we need to making meal times a gathering around a table in which we share both food and conversation.
  • Try very hard to not rush these family meal times.  Take time to enjoy both food and fellowship.
  • If there have been on-going skirmishes amongst family members during the day, consider having a time before the blessing of the meal during which forgiveness and reconcilliation take place.
  • Again, practice hospitality with your children. . . have regular meal-time guests.
  • In the middle and / or at the end of the day, sit together for a time of confession.  Children and parents (or teachers) alike should all be encouraged to confess their sin struggles to eachother, ask forgiveness of eachother if needed, and pray for forgiveness and help from God together.
  • Be sure to end these times of prayer with a word of assurance of God's forgiveness.  Perhaps learn and recite 1 John 1:9.
11.  GIVE
  • Encourage and teach a habit of sharing.  Do not allow anyone in the family to easily take the attitude that certain things belong to them.  Teach your children that all we have is God's and that we are stewards of the things He has blessed us with and that one of the ways we do a good job of this is by sharing His blessings to us with others.  Begin the habit of giving inside your own home.
  • Next, teach your children the importance of giving to others outside your immediate family.  Have kids get involved in either taking some of their own time to make gifts for others or taking some of their own money to buy gifts for others.
  • Next, teach your children to give to those they may not even know.  Decide, as a family, ways to give to charitable causes - a local faith-based organization or a national organization that provides for those in need.
  • When your children begin earning their own money, teach them good stewardship of their money.  Teach them that this money, though they earned it with work, still belongs to God.  Teach them to give, in gratitude, to God and then to manage wisely what they keep.
  • Flee the temptation to shelter your kids completely from the world.  Having entrenched them in all the above habits, make a habit, now, of going out into the world.  Cover them in prayer and let them out into a suffering world.
  • Get the kids involved in community sports, clubs and groups.
  • Voluteer your services as a family to those in need.
  • Let your children get paying jobs and / or voluteer their time to do work for free for people in the neighborhood.
  • Teach your children how to form healthy and safe relationships with those outside the Body of Christ, and teach them how to bring the lost into the Family.
Desiring the Kingdom ~ Part 1
Desiring the Kingdom ~ Part 2
Desiring the Kingdom ~ Part 3

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