The Most Important Thing Parents Can Do This Summer

Fleeting Summer Days

Summer is one of my favorite times of the year.1 It takes us past the blistery cold and blanketing snow of the winter. Summer gets us beyond the heavy rains and muddy grounds of spring. But better than this, is the opportunity to spend concentrated time with the grandchildren. Each summer we are treated with the comings and goings of our children’s children. At times we will have all ten.

You can imagine the busyness of giving each one the attention they have come to expect from their Granny (my name from the older ones)/GiGi (my name from the younger ones). The mounds of food that are consumed. The constant buzz of conversation. The barrage of questions. What some may see as mayhem to be avoided, I see as moments to be seized.

One of the traditions we have is to gather all the grandchildren one last time, before they depart for home, and ask each of them what they enjoyed most about their time with Papa and Granny/GiGi. Their answers amaze us every time we do this. What we thought was quite simple and insignificant meant the most to them. Here is how it goes:

“I liked it when we went to that big playground.”

“I liked the cookout and bonfire at Uncle Stephen’s and Aunt Mandy’s.”

“No, no the best thing was the UNO tournament!”

“Yeah that was cool, but I really enjoyed going to the different restaurants, especially ‘Tom and Eddie’s.’”

“I really liked riding around with Tia Nell and Vernon Hills Days.”

Then it happens: one of them says something that lands right at the core of my heart:

“I really liked the times we spent reading and talking about the Bible.”

This response reminds me in an unexpected but fresh way of seizing the moment by spending time with the grandchildren in the Word of God. The other things we did with them were good, and I would say important and certainly fun. But none of them was as important as the time in the Scripture—and they enjoyed it.

Spending time with the next generations around the “sacred writings” is indeed serious business (2 Tim. 1:5; 3:14–15). Times of going to church, participating in family worship, and discussing the Scriptures with the children’s friends are all moment-seizing opportunities.

We do not have much time to evangelize the children God brings into our lives. Seizing the moment is indeed the order of the day.

Sometimes it is just as simple as being faithful to the Lord’s Day worship. I was reminded of this on one Sunday when my granddaughter was sitting next to me while we were receiving the Lord’s Table. This five-year-old began a series of questions that even to this day, three years removed, stirs my soul. During the service, she wanted to know why the children could not “have any.” I answered her question attempting to be as clear as I could, seizing the moment to tell how Jesus took on our sins and died in our place. Trusting Granny, she was content with my quick and short answer. However, knowing her, I was convinced she had other unanswered questions. I also wanted to spend more time with her ensuring she understood what I briefly shared during the Lord’s Table. This is where she and I are so much alike: we both like being thorough.

Our opportunity to discuss her questions at length came during that evening’s time of family worship. Toward the end of our Bible reading together, we give time for questions and answers. Even though I already knew, I specifically asked her if she had any more questions about the Lord’s Table. Of course, she did!

Simple Faithfulness

I am amazed at how just being faithful to the ABC’s of Christian living, like attending church, can have such a profound evangelistic impact upon children. Many are the stories of children who came to know Christ because kind neighbors took them along to church. Because we took our grandchildren to church with us, I had yet another opportunity to share the gospel with my young granddaughter not once but twice in one day. These opportunities came because this little girl observed us in worship, and, as Moses wrote in Exodus 12:26, she asked, “What do you mean by this service?”

What is really amazing is that I am talking about my grandchildren. Where did all the time go? It does not seem that long ago when I was spending time with their parents and their friends when they were young.

Joyfully Spreading the Word

Joyfully Spreading the Word

Kathleen Nielson, Gloria Furman

With a clear articulation of the gospel alongside practical examples from ten women, this book supplies role models for learning how to faithfully and effectively share the gospel in any context.

Life is like a summer in midwest America. It is brief. It will not be long before fall begins to set in and the green turns to yellow, red, and orange. Then in a few short months, the grass and the trees will quietly—almost without notice—fall asleep for the winter. That is how life is, according to James 4:14. We do not have much time to evangelize the children God brings into our lives. Seizing the moment is indeed the order of the day.

God entrusts parents and also whole congregations with the blessing of children. May we hear and respond to the call of the prophet Jeremiah: “Arise, cry out . . . Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children” (Lam. 2:19).

Gladly accept that child, those children, from the hand of God. Earnestly pray for the salvation of their souls. Acquaint them with the Scriptures, the only thing that will make them wise unto salvation.

Give them Jesus!

Notes:

  1. This section is adapted from Louis Love, “Summer Means Good Times” The Front Porch website, August 19, 2015, http://thefrontporch.org/2015/08 /summer-means-good-times/. This adaptation is included with the permission of Louis C. Love Jr.

This article is adapted from Joyfully Spreading the Word: Sharing the Good News of Jesus edited by Kathleen Nielson and Gloria Furman.



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