We were all sitting on the couch, anxiously awaiting Daddy’s return home so we could eat dinner, when she turned around and said, “What if you are having a hard time forgiving someone?”
I looked at her and about a million thoughts when through my mind, the first of which was, “Now? Right now? When dinner’s on the table and your little brother is melting down and Daddy is running late and now is when you want to have this talk?”
My first instinct was to delay, tell her we’d talk later because there wasn’t time now. My second thought was to deflect, tell her Daddy would chat about that when he got home. My final response was discussion; talk to her in the middle of the moment, maybe not in-depth and maybe not full disclosure, but enough to engage her and promise a future conversation.
Look , we only have, for most, 18 years with our kids and of those, only 10 or so where they are capable of philosophical and faith-forming questions and conversations.
In that brief time, we are given a few perfect moments to share our faith and hope with our kids. But in that same time, we are given many, many imperfect moments.
If we are waiting for the perfect moment, we will miss so many chances to pour into our kids.
Consider these moments we tend to encounter every day:
- Waking up – Those blustery, blunder-filled mornings of chaos are often perfect times for kids to ask burning questions. Engage them!
- Driving Anywhere (especially if you’re in a hurry) – Your mind is on the destination and getting there as quickly as possible; they want to know how God can count all their hair. Talk to them!
- Eating Meals (but particularly in public places) – Table manners aside, when your child brings up a sensitive topic at the table of all places, your first instinct might be to duck and hide. Acknowledge them!
- Going to bed – They may just want to stay up later, but if they have opened the door to discuss God’s love, walk on through. Converse with them!
Doctor’s office waiting for your appointment?
Standing in line at an amusement park?
Stuck in a checkout behind that lady with a hundred coupons and matching ads (that might be me –sorry)?
At the playground? In the middle of the night? On a field trip? While you’re in the dressing room?
Imperfect moments, each and every one and yet, if you can grasp them and if you can use them, you will be able to “impress” deeply upon your child the Emmanuel nature of the God that we serve; the God who is always with us, ever-present, and always desirous of our time and attention.
And listen, we are as imperfect as the moments we are presented. We are going to have days where we say, “Sorry, I missed it. You asked, I deflected. You inquired, I digressed. But I’m here now, let’s talk.” But that brings its own beautiful lesson in itself.
Paul tells us in Ephesians to “make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.” That doesn’t just apply to our workplace, our social circles or our friends and neighbors.
That applies to our family and our children.
That applies to the imperfect moments. Seize them!
*Looking for a great resource to help you be ready to seize the imperfect moments? Check out the book “Trust us, They’ll Ask” from Group Publishing. My husband and I both have appreciated the ideas and answers this book has provided as we try to provide biblical and thoughtful answers to our kids.
If you enjoyed this article, check out ReFocus Ministry for more ideas on faith formation at home and transitioning church ministry toward a family focus, or “like” us on Facebook for even more resources.