We spend a lot of time in this house practicing things. We go to soccer practice twice a week and hockey practice twice a week. My girls spend 15 minutes a day practicing their instruments. We spend all that time practicing so the girls can be good at the things they have chosen to pursue. Without practice, they wouldn't know where to be and what to do during their games. They wouldn't sound very good at their concerts. Practice is vitally important to their success at these endeavors.
So, it makes sense that our kids might need some practice at making good decisions as they pursue a life of following Jesus. They need to practice what they will do in certain situations to make sure they understand what it means to be respectful, compassionate and kind.
When we give our kids the opportunity to think about a situation before they actually have to deal with that situation, we give them the time to think through their response. The whole point of practice is to train yourself to do the right thing before you're in a game situation.
We can offer our kids some practice in showing the character qualities we are trying to teach them. We can role play with them or simply ask them how they would deal with certain situations.
One great resource for doing that is the book Sticky Situations: 365 Devotions for Kids and Families. This daily devotional offers up everyday situations kids might face and lets them decide what they should do. Each day includes a short description of a situation and multiple choice answers. It also includes Bible verses for your kids to read to help them decide what the right answer is.
This devotional and it's companion book, Sticky Situations 2: 365 Devotions for Elementary Kids, are wonderful options for any parent looking to give their kids some practice in making decisions based on God's Word.
Every choice our kids make in a "sticky situation" is a choice between following God and following the ways of the world. In Joshua 24:15, Joshua told the Israelites to make a choice about whom they would follow: "But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."
When we give our kids practice at choosing to follow God, we make it easier for them to choose to follow Him when it counts. Add some practice time to your lives today.