Over the years I’ve watched a lot of folks raise a lot of kids. Some from a closer vantage than others, but I’ve watched them all do some of the same things. For instance, every parent goes through the same nighttime rituals… at least most nights. They give their kids a bath, wash their hair, help them brush their teeth, and tuck them snugly into bed.
The next morning another set of rituals are practiced that eventually, hopefully… end with good hygiene practices that will keep their bodies physically clean. It doesn\’t stop with childhood. In adolescence kids learn to put on their deodorant, wash their face regularly (to avoid as many pimples as possible), and even help kids understand the value of keeping a breath mint close by. These daily practices become habits for our kids, habits that ensure a clean physical body.
We teach kids physical hygiene in order to help them keep their bodies clean and socially acceptable.
I’m concerned that our kids aren\’t learning spiritual disciplines; those disciplines that when practiced draw us closer to The Lord and help to define us as disciples of Christ. I think it’s time we start putting equal (if not more) emphasis on the things that will help kids stay spiritually clean and acceptable to God. We must encourage kids at an early age to read the Bible daily, pray daily, and spend quiet time with The Lord daily, worship, tithe, and practice repentance! Building these habits early will help to ensure those same habits later in life.
I suspect one of the major reason why kids don\’t learn spiritual disciplines is because the adults in their lives don\’t practice spiritually disciplined lives in front of them. Now I’m not going to go so far as to say that the adults aren\’t spiritually disciplined… but I will say that kids learn much more from what they see modeled than what they simply hear taught.
I’m on a soap box to help teach basic spiritual disciplines to kids. I’m convinced that there are few things more important. I believe that when kids learn and practice spiritual disciplines it plays out in a clean, healthy, growing relationship with Jesus. Will you help me share this important message with the Christian families in your ministry? As Kids Ministry leaders, let’s be committed to equipping parents and kids to practice “spiritual hygiene.”
Check out these resources that will help with Spiritual Hygiene:
More (devotions for younger kids)
Adventure (devotions for middle kids)
Bible Express (devotions for preteens)
I am SO with you on this! In fact, this past summer, our week long camp focused on spiritual disciplines….. from training of our leaders to actual seminars at camp with the grade schoolers, we focused on what the disciplines are and how we can practice them to help us grow in our faith! I was able to equip parents (or bring them up to speed) after a week of focusing on this with a book: The Habits of a Child’s Heart that helps parents teach the disciplines in an age appropriate manner. LOVE this!
Awesome! Thanks, Karyn. Can’t wait to get a copy of the book “The Habits of a Child’s Heart.” Thanks for the lead!
Do you have room on your soapbox? I think those of us working with kids/youth will agree with you. I’ve been very discouraged and at a loss on how to better guide our parents in this area without pointing any fingers. However, the Lord showed me he’s still in control and working especially in our youth boys. Our son was looking for a bible study to do over the summer. We chose “Sampson – A Life Well Wasted” by Chip Henderson. (I learned about it from LifeWay emails.) As our son was reading the book it was out on a table in his bedroom. On different occassions when his friends were at our home, they noticed the book and asked me and our son about it. I have now had parents ask me about the book and know the a couple have started the study with their sons AT HOME. Our son gave one to a friend in a birthday gift. I now keep a couple of extra copies on hand so I can handout immediately!