What Fills Your Family Calendar

by | Mar 12, 2019

As parents, we are frequently oblivious to something that dramatically impacts the faith and character of our children—our daily family schedule. Consider this question. When your sons or daughters leave your home someday, which one of these things would you want most for them? 

a) to be successful academically.
b) to be successful athletically.
c) to be successful socially.
d) to be a person of faith and character.

Personally, I would like to have another option: e) all of the above. But if you could only have one, which one would you choose? You most likely said that faith and character were most important to you. At least that seems like the right answer. Let me change the question, while leaving the answers more or less the same. Which of the following parenting issues gets the best of your parenting time, effort, money, and planning? 

a) academics.
b) athletics.
c) social life.
d) faith and character development.

If you had to rank these four categories in order of the amount of time, money, and effort you put into each one, which would come out on top? Which would come out on the bottom? Back in 2004, when God turned my heart to my children, I did not like this question. It revealed to me that the thing I claimed was most important to me, the faith and character of my children, was actually at the bottom of my priority list. 

Let us imagine that all of our children turn out to be smart, athletic, popular, polite, and hardworking. It would seem that they would be poised for all the success the world has to offer. But what if they do not love God and know His plan for their lives? Most importantly, what if they do not get safely home to Heaven? There is nothing wrong with being great at sports, getting good grades, or being well-liked. The danger is that if these things become our focus, we can completely miss the things that truly matter. 

Here is a third and final question. Which of the following receive the most time on your family calendar? 

a) academics.
b) athletics.
c) social life.
d) faith and character development.

Once again, when I was faced with this question, I did not like the answer. It seemed as if the family calendar was packed with school events, sports, and activities, with church worship tucked into the appropriate time slots in the week. 

In Jesus’ sermon on the mount, he teaches us not to be anxious about the things of this world – what we will eat, or what we will wear. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). This Scripture has tested my faith as a parent. Do I really believe that if my children seek first the Kingdom of God, that God will take care of the rest of their needs in this life? Above the door leading out to our garage is a wooden sign, “God first.” I want those words to be more than a slogan on a sign. If Jesus’ words are true, we will parent and lead our families radically differently than the world around us.  

Go Deeper: Visionary Parenting

To read more about having a God-Filled family calendar, check out our book “Visionary Parenting”.