The other day Joe Williams–one of our youth directors at Asbury UMC–came into my office and showed me a picture of a napkin that was left in the lunchbox of one of our students from her dad. The note simply said “Happy Wednesday” then had a list of hashtags: #U-Rock, #PraiseJesus, #GiveItAllToHim, #SmilingIsMyFavorite, #Buddy. What got our attention was this middle-school student kept the napkin. This small, fun note showed this student she was loved and cared for by her parents.
In the book “Playing for Keeps” by Reggie Joiner and Kristen Ivy, the authors talk about five things every kid needs to thrive in his or her faith: Time, Love, Words, Stories, Tribes, and Fun. This book talks about how, if you do intentional acts over time, it can have a huge impact in passing down faith to your kids.
The average eighth grader (who is 13) has 260 weeks left in the home before they leave for college. If you leave a note in your eighth grader’s lunch, it can encourage and give him or her a boost for the day, which is awesome. BUT, if you leave a note in your child’s lunchbox once a week until they graduate (260 notes), it can transform how they see themselves.
This makes sense to me because of my grandmother. My family would go to my grandmother’s every Sunday for lunch. I would help her fry chicken and make potato salad and talk about God and faith. By a conservative estimate, I had 884 meals with my grandmother from the time I was born to 25 years of age which gave me 884 opportunities to learn and grow from a spiritual giant in my life. I am not positive I would be a pastor right now without those conversations and her influence over my life.
We parents spend so much of our time just surviving that we miss the daily opportunities to speak life and faith into our kids. As I write this I can think of many ways I miss the mark on being intentional with my parenting. The trick to having a lasting impact on your family is to take advantage of the opportunities you have: driving to school, planning meals, cleaning the house, visiting family and friends, plus all the down time you have getting your kids to activities like sports, dance, and band. You don’t have to add things to the calendar, just take advantage of what you are already doing.
We here at Asbury UMC value partnering with parents to help pass down faith. We invite you to look at our Milestone web page (www.asburymilestones.org) that has family experiences for each year of life from birth to twelfth grade.
I also personally love THIS RESOURCE which helps you be a rockstar every day (and offers great ideas for those lunchbox notes).
Until next time,