What Are You Filling Your Kids’
Spiritual Backpacks With?
Joey and Carla Link
August 23, 2017
It’s back to school time! It can cause anxiety for kids – going to a new class, new school or moving up a grade. Other kids can’t wait for the next grade. Many parents can’t wait for school to start again to get their kids and family back in a regular routine. Good parents ensure kids learn everything they can and what they need to be well-rounded adults.
Parents hit the “Back to School” sales and get their curriculum ready and lesson plans completed if they homeschool. Back to school time can be emotionally draining for parents as they realize their kids are growing up, especially if they have kids who are college bound.
One thing many parents don’t plan for as they prepare their kids to go back to school is their spiritual growth and development. I focused on this with our kids each year. Here are some Spiritual preparations I wanted my kids to have before they left our home for good. What are yours?
Stores in our areas post lists for each grade and school of what kids need to fill their backpacks with. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a “Spiritual Check-List” too? Here’s ours.
- Our kids know where each book of the Bible is and can turn to that book in church or Bible study when the name of the book is called. We did drills looking up different verses in the Bible which encouraged them to memorize where the books were to beat their siblings.
In this digitized age, Bibles are easily accessed on phones and tablets and the names of the books of the Bible can be found by googling them. This is our perspective of course, but we think while you can certainly access the Bible on your computer or phone, nothing replaces holding the Word of God in your hands and reading the pages with reverence and awe. The Bible is the life of God and you just don’t get that feeling from a tablet or phone.
- We read from the Bible 4-5 days a week as a family. I (Joey) started in Genesis and read through the Bible with them over the years pulling out a few verses each day for them to think on. Yes, we even read through Numbers and Deuteronomy. J
- We memorized verses together. We put a key verse (on a 3×5 card) on the mirror of their bathroom and bedrooms to help remind them to look at it. As a single parent of 3 teenage girls, my (Carla’s) mom had 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good morals” on every mirror, closet door and on cupboards in the kitchen! I have never forgotten that verse as a result.
- We took them to mid-week kids’ programs at church. Our church had the excellent AWANA program where they memorized verses each week. We didn’t just have them memorize verses, when we worked with them on memorizing the verses, we asked them what they meant and had good conversations about them.
- We would read a book at dinner time a few days a week. One of our favorites that is still in print is “Little Pilgrim’s Progress.” Our goal was 2 chapters 2-3 nights a week and our young teens kept asking for more.
- We had them read books that would encourage them in their faith and challenge them to live for Jesus. Carla or I would take them through books like “A Girl/Boy After God’s Own Heart” 1-2 chapters a week. The questions at the end of each chapter opened up wonderful discussions on applying God’s principles to their lives.
- We encouraged them to have their Quiet Time/Devotions every day. On Saturdays, Joey would ask them what God had taught them in their QT’s that week. They were eager to share and we did as well.
- We wanted our kids to be able to lead someone to Christ, so they had to not only know the plan of salvation, they could actually share it with someone.
- Do you know 90% of Christians have never led someone to the Lord? How that must hurt God! Have you? We wanted our kids to be confident how to take this step when God knocked on their door and said, “He/she’s ready!”
- We used “The 4 Spiritual Laws” by Bill Bright of Campus Crusade ministry, now known as Cru.
- We wanted our kids to be able to lead a small group Bible study or confidently teach a children’s class.
- Carla always taught Sunday School classes and had the girls join her and assigned them weeks to plan each part of the program including the lessons and to teach them.
- She or I would lead a Bible Study with their peers, then have them lead one while we observed. All 3 of our kids will tell you they are grateful for this experience.
Some might wonder when and how you can fit all this into your children and family’s schedule. It’s just like any other thing your kids want to add to your family’s life, like playing a sport or spending time with friends. When it’s something you want to do and you think it is important in their lives, you find a way to fit it in and make it happen.
One day, your kids will graduate from kindergarten, elementary, middle school and then high school. Potentially they will go on to college and graduate from there. At each level of promotion, they move up after completing course work they know, understand and are proficient at.
When your kids graduate from your home will they be proficient at following Christ? Will they have the foundation building blocks from your home (with the church’s help) for your kids to get a job or go to college and not walk away from their faith? Do you know over 80% of kids raised in evangelical Christian churches walk away from their faith during their college years? So not only are we not bringing new believers into God’s kingdom, the ones He gave us to raise for 18 years are walking away from Him. This should scare you to death.
Will your kids choose to go to church when they leave your home? Marry a strong Christian? Will they be hanging on to their most important textbook of life, their Bible? What do your Spiritual lesson plans need to include this year?