Do you often feel as if you are not doing enough to find balance between doing your job and nurturing your children spiritually? Do you feel that were it not for your job you would have taken your children for that bible camp or you would have had more time for family bible study?
The truth is that as a working parent you rarely have time for all the things you would like to do for yourself, your children, your spouse, the church and the community at large. It’s worse if you have to work away from home. The following points will help you find a way to balance work and your God-given responsibility as a Christian parent; raising godly children.
- How you start your day matters a lot.
Many times it is hard to find time to say grace together with your children in the morning. You have to pack their lunches, prepare for work, beat traffic and feed the dog. Whether you have a partner or not there is a tone of activities to do in the morning,
Grace would interact with her children in the morning. Between picking her husband’s clothes for the day, keeping the toys in a safe place and packing their lunches, she had very little time left to prepare herself and leave for work. Yet she would have loved to have breakfast and share the grace with the family.
The key to having a blissful morning is planning for it the previous night. Before going to bed set aside what everybody will wear the next day. Have the children put away their toys, and pack their school bags. If possible place the bags, keys and other items to carry out of the house closer to the door.
If you have pets, you can take turns in feeding them. Plan your breakfast at dinner. It will be easier if you make a small note and stick it on the fridge. If possible you can make a menu for the week before it starts. In case you are married and have grown children; you can take turns in preparing breakfast.
That way you will spare a few minutes each moment to eat breakfast together. No matter how spiritual you are, please note that this is not the time to conduct bible study. Holding hands and saying a simple prayer is enough. You can also take turns to pray. That way, your children will learn to pray.
- Your work can instill some biblical virtues in your children
Have you ever told your children that the reason you can afford to take them to a good school, drive them around in a nice car, and live in a beautiful home is because you have a job? I know that Christian parents tend to over spiritualize everything.
You have probably told the kids that God shall supply all they need according to his heavenly riches. While that is true, it is also important to let them know that He provides through the money you make at work.
Tell them how your work impacts the church and the society. If possible take them to work or share a few interesting stories from your job. That way they will know the value of your job. They can also know the importance of godly virtues like hard work, excellence, and servant leadership.
When you gather to pray as a family, remember to thank God for your job and teach the kids to do the same. That makes it easier for them to see your work as a blessing, and not a burden. Besides, that salary makes it possible for them to get things.
- Relax, rest, retreat
Tim Hansel, the author of ‘When I Relax I Feel Guilty,’ encourages Christians to rest and discover the mysteries of joy, resting and freedom. The Lord also rested after six days of work. Therefore resting, relaxing and retreating are godly.
The dictionary will show you that relaxing and resting have the same meaning but in this article we shall look at each separately.
No matter how hard your job is or how dull your day was, make sure you relax before bonding with the children. There must be something that relaxes you after a long day. For some it’s music or basketball, while for others it’s a walk in the park or a long shower.
Whatever it is, do it first then go to the children. Some parent might find this selfish because the kids come first, but when you are relaxed you are able to observe more, listen more and do more.
As a Christian parent I bet you want to mould your children’s behavior to the best of your ability. This will be hard if you don’t listen to them, observe their behavior and engage in activities that will shape that character.
Psychologists advocate for eight hours of sleep each day. As a grown up, you already know the importance of getting enough sleep. In addition to that, let’s look at another meaning of rest-the kind that is mentioned in the bible.
Jesus tells us to cast all our burdens to him and enter rest. As a human being there are things and people that will trouble you. As a parent, your children will not always do what you want or behave the way you want.
Enter rest. This means that allow yourself to do what you can, change what can change then leave the rest to God. Forgive yourself when you fail your children. Know that your children do not behave a certain way because you are away working.
Kindly know that raising godly children is not easy. Apart from societal expectations there are religious expectations. At one time you might have to spend more time at work than with them. Therefore, forgive yourself more and enter rest.
Move away from anything that does not add value to your life. Retreat from activities that are likely to take up your kid’s time. You must prioritize all the activities you want to engage in-including church activities.
Michael is a single father of two, a member of the protocol team in church, a marketing executive and a volunteer counselor at the local counseling center. Recently he forgot his daughter’s birthday.
In his defense, he had to rush to church after work for a minister from overseas was visiting so as a member of the protocol team, he felt he had to be there. Although the two duties are crucial, Michael the parent is irreplaceable while Michael the usher is replaceable.
If you want to find balance between work and raising godly children you must retreat from some activities and even relationships. Whatever or whoever comes between you and your children is not a priority.
- It takes a village to raise a child.
You probably have heard this saying many times. Lori Long, the author of ‘The Parent’s Guide To Family Friendly work,’ stresses the need for each parent to have a support system.
The most important person in your support network is your employer. Work for an employer that values family. Otherwise, work will stand in the way of raising your children. It is advisable to know beforehand how an employer treats employees with families before accepting the job.
The other vital person is your spouse, a relative or a friend. This is a person that you can entrust your children with. Somebody that can help you around the house, fill in for you at work or represent you at the PTA meeting.
Know and accept the fact that you cannot do everything by yourself and still find time for your children. Delegate some responsibilities to others so that you do not get overwhelmed. If you find it hard to relax then know you are overworking and you need assistance.
Remember the people you choose to support you in raising your children should know the values you aim to instill in them. Whether they are members of the extended family or hired helps, those children are yours and you have a plan to bring them up in a certain way.
- Dinner-to-bed bonding
Parents who aim at raising godly children would want to equip them with the word of God, among other virtues. If you spend this time between dinner and bedtime well you will achieve most of your family objectives.
You can invest in story books that have biblical themes then ensure you read them together with your children. Stories are a fantastic way of teaching positive moral lessons to kids. Sometimes you can add a bible verse that fits the story.
If you have older children then you must be past the age of storybooks. However, there are other activities that you can do before bed like playing a game, baking, singing, painting-the list is endless. You can share the word amidst these actions.
Having a meal together presents a wonderful opportunity to bond with your children- teach them to pray, observe their behavior, learn new things, share jokes and plan for the following day. A family that eats together stays together.
It is not easy to find balance between work and raising godly children, but it is possible. Your role at work, in church and the community can be given to someone else; but you are irreplaceable at home.