Vacation is an important part of family rhythm. Family rhythms play an important part of the spiritual formation of our families. We, as churches, are not primarily responsible for the spiritual development of children. But, we are responsible for building into the lives of the parents and children and teenagers to bring about healthy environments at home, centered on life in Christ. We know, for example, how much our own family environments have affected us, positively and negatively.
This next week Claudia and I will have the wonderful opportunity for a week’s vacation with all seven of our children and nine grandchildren. This was our Christmas present to our children. Instead of them coming to our home with all the busyness of the Christmas season, we opted to have Christmas in June at the beach. Less stress. Outdoors. A chance to spend time with our children and their own children. Hopefully, during the week will have some formative opportunities to visit with our children about what God is doing in their life.
Some of the questions we might address are:
- What are you living for?
- What in your life right now excites you?
- What do you fear?
- What do you love (hate)?
- What do you hope for?
- Where do you find your comfort, security or pleasure?
Who knows? We may not get to any of these questions. But spiritual formation takes place in lots of ways. Being together, sharing memories, looking toward the future, what’s working, what’s not working. We hope to have a rhythm of daily prayer. Believe me, we know how chaotic this can be with lots of children. Nevertheless, it helps to structure a rhythm to come to God even in the chaos.
We know that most of Christianity is caught not taught. We know there is no exact formula. We pray that we would create spaces of grace, honesty, reconciliation, teaching, exhortation, correction when needed, etc. As we move into the summer, be encouraged to participate wholeheartedly in the family life of your church and of your own nuclear family. Provide those spaces where spiritual formation can take place. Ask those questions. Establish a daily rhythm that works for you. May God bless your family rhythms as you rest and rejuvenate this summer.