Be Ready

Do any of you have kids who are outgrowing clothes faster than you can buy them? We tried on all the clothes in my kids' closets two weeks ago and weeded out the ones that didn't fit. Just this week my oldest comes out of her room in a pair of pants that fit two weeks ago, and they ended an inch above her ankles. Seriously? The clothes budget really can't handle a child who grows a 1/2-inch a week.

We're pretty sure this latest growth spurt is fueled by some hormones, and I've been struggling with how to have some pretty important conversations with her about the changes her body will be going through in the next couple of years. She's stuck in that in-between stage where in some ways she wants desperately to be grown up, but in others she wants badly to remain a little girl. I've read all the parenting books and talked to some of my friends, but mostly I've been praying that God will give me the right opportunities to talk to her in a way that doesn't intimidate her or scare her about the changes of puberty.

Last night, I got just such an opportunity -- in the car, on the way home from soccer. It was actually a fun conversation. We kept it light but the conversation included some important information she needed to know. It opened the doors to future conversations that might be a bit more serious.

I came to the conclusion after our conversation last night that one of the most important pieces of being a parent is being ready to tackle any subject at any time. I didn't get into the car last night after soccer thinking we were going to discuss bras on the way home, but when the topic came up, I was ready to jump on it and use the time to impart some valuable information to my daughter.

Sometimes the best moments and conversations are the unplanned ones. But to take advantage of those moments, we have to be ready -- and we have to be listening. The key to following the instructions in Deuteronomy 6:6-9 is to be ready to teach your children in any moment. As parents, there are a few simple ways we can prepare ourselves for these precious conversations with our kids.

  • Spend time with God each day. If you aren't connected to God, then when your kids need you to teach them, you won't be ready. You need to be spending time in God's word each day and talking with him regularly. If you're not growing in your faith, it's going to be tough to help your kids grow.
  • Make memorizing scripture a part of your week. You can do it on your own or with your kids, but the more scripture you know, the easier it will be to present it to your children. Psalm 119:11 tells us "Your word I have hid in my heart that I might not sin against you." The more scripture that is in our hearts, the more we can recognize and avoid sin.
  • Pray about the things that you would like to talk about with your kids. Ask God to create the opportunities for you to talk with your kids. Then, be ready to recognize the opportunities when He gives them to you. Remember, that many times those opportunities may not look like what you had planned, but they are what God has planned.

The most effective conversations you will have with your kids are the ones that you didn't plan. But, only if you're ready.