“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”
Psalm 127: 3-5
Summertime comes to an end, and the kids begin another year at school. They return home with mounds of homework while you return home with tasks and errands. Weeknights and weekends turn into soccer practice and band rehearsals.
You might feel like your schedule is replacing your sanity.
I think we’ve all been here before. Just ask my Mom; she’ll tell you how many times our family’s calendar looked more like a novel than a schedule!
But take another look at these verses in Psalm 127. It says that our children are like arrows that get shot out into the world. God is using us as parents to adjust the trajectory of their lives. Our family was designed by God to be the headquarters of our ministry.
Life gets busy, and it’s hard to spend quality time with our spouse and children while juggling responsibilities. But we must learn to purposefully utilize our time to invest in our marriage and our children for the sake of their future.
Here are some practical steps you can take to invest in your family:
Examine your weekly schedule
We get 168 hours to spend every week.
Think of your time like a paycheck. 40 hours for a typical work week, 56 hours of sleep (although my number always comes up a little short), and a few hours for commuting. That leaves us with about 68 hours per week.
Just like with money, we must learn to budget the time that we have. It’s important to have time with God, our spouse, our children, our friends, our ministries, and time by ourselves. The tricky part is deciding how much time to invest in each category.
Jesus says in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
We want our relationships to reflect the investments we put in them. Our relationship with God needs to be the strongest one in our lives. After that, our spouse and children should take priority.
Thinking about our schedules this way helps us with the next step.
Purposefully plan consistent and meaningful time with your family
When you get home from work, you probably have 10 things on your to-do list. But when you examine your weekly schedule, look for times that you’re free for an hour or two consistently. Use some of these times to hang out individually with your spouse and each of your kids.
Maybe Tuesday nights are free for you and your son. Take him somewhere he likes to eat or go play a game together. Plan on doing it consistently, and use that time as a real investment in his life. Ask how things are going with school, with friends, with his relationship with God. Disconnect from your phone and other distractions.
Have a date night with your spouse, too! The quality of your relationship will directly influence the actions and future relationships of your children.
Find ways to spend time together as a whole family. You can take a road trip, find a new place to explore, or simply have more meals at the kitchen table.
Enter into your kids’ passions, and bring them into your activities
Find out what interests your children the most. Is it a sport, art, writing or playing an instrument? Affirm them in their passions and come alongside them in support. Learn about their heart for why they enjoy it. Ask questions and encourage creativity. Go to their events and cheer them on!
Utilize the spaces between activities
Similarly, bring your children into your daily activities. Give them simple tasks to help you when you’re cooking dinner, and talk to them about their day while you’re doing it. Use your car rides to pray together and talk about things in your lives.
The goal is not to magically create space where it does not exist.
It’s to purposefully use the time that we have to invest in our family’s lives.
That might mean trimming the fat on some of our TV time, or saying no to certain social events. But in the end, our children (and other family members) will be arrows used by God to impact the world. The investment we make in their lives now will change the direction of their lives and the lives of those they’ll encounter.