The Resolved Parent
When we make New Year resolutions, we generally fixate on areas of our personal lives in which we would like to grow. We want to have a better body, a better bank account and a better Bible reading plan. We tend to be quite inward focused with regard to regrets and resolutions; and, that is not an altogether bad thing. This year, however, I want to think about areas in which I can grow with respect to my relationship to others--namely, family, fellow believers, neighbors, friends, etc. Foremost among those relationships, I want to be the most resolved parent I can be for the spiritual well-being of my sons. As we enter a New Year, Anna and I are committing to being more purposeful about the way in which we foster the spiritual care of our sons throughout the week. By God's grace, we have always sought to lead them in family worship--albeit, in a very imperfect and sometimes inconsistent way. We usually sing, read God's word and pray at night. For many years, we adopted a lectio continua approach to reading through it. A few years ago, we moved to a lectio selecta approach (For a brief explanation of these two approaches, see this article). This year we are returning to a lectio continua approach to Scripture reading. We will plan on working through a Bible reading plan during family worship, at least, five days a week. On the other days, we might do a lectio selecta approach. This year, we have started the "5 Day Bible Reading Program." Melissa Kruger had recently recommended it with the following explanation: "I like the 5-day format for a variety of reasons. It gives you a little more flexibility on how you read and makes it easier to catch up if you get a few days behind. I typically use Saturday to read the New Testament sections and then have Sunday as a free day, to read and reflect upon whatever passage I choose. Overall, I really enjoy the flexibility that the 5-day format provides for my week. The plan is organized in a 52-week format. While you can begin it in January, you can also begin in March or June. It’s easy to print up multiple copies and have them in whatever Bibles you have around the house. Since it’s just piece of paper, it’s travel friendly for work trips and vacations." Instead of doing the Old and New Testament reading, we will just do the New Testament reading, starting with Mark's Gospels. The length of the readings make it difficult to do any sort of focused teaching on all that is read in a sitting; therefore, I am trying to pick one part of the chapter that we read and draw out some expositional insights from which we can benefit in a more focused way. Anna and I are also recommitting to working on our Bible memorization with the boys. In the past, we have memorized large sections of Hebrews 1 and 2, Ephesians 1, 1 Peter 1, 1 John 1-2. I would like for us to continue that by working on the first two chapters of other New Testament Epistles, as well as by memorizing more Psalms. I am painfully aware that at some point in the next two or three months, we will almost certainly find ourselves lagging behind schedule; but, we want this to be one of the chief things on which we focus in a more deliberate way this year ahead. The Lord has entrusted our children into our care so that we will tenderly and persistently encourage them to know Him, love His word, trust in His Son and worship Him. He calls us to take this aspect of our parenting more seriously than any other. We sincerely long for God to give us grace in 2019 to be the sort of Christian parents who enter in on this all important task with joyful resolve.