7 1/2 Minutes to Courageous Family Communication
Author: Karen Lindwell-Bourg
7 ½ Hour vs 7 ½ Minutes
We rarely hesitate to send our children to public school for 7 1/2 hours every day. After all it is required by law that we educate our children!
As a homeschooling family, I admit, we didn’t always spend a full 7 1/2 hours in formal educational exercises; but we probably spent more than 7 1/2 hours every day in formal and informal educational activities combined. Our children were with us all day, every day, and every moment became a teachable moment. Because we were homeschooling we were used to sitting down in a classroom or formal type setting to teach our children and we had the blessed privilege of beginning with Scripture and teaching everything – from language and grammar and law and science and medicine and history – based on the foundation of God’s Word. In addition, we read the Bible together every day of the week.
But for most families, sitting down for formal teaching and training as a family could feel uncomfortable and unnatural. How many days a week does your family sit together (not in front of the TV or with video games and iPhones in hand!)?
The 7 ½ Minute Challenge
What if your family spent 7 1/2 minutes every day sitting down together at the kitchen table and offering instruction, guidance, encouragement? What if you read seven Bible verses to each other during the 7 1/2 minutes? What if you used these 7 1/2 minutes to cover very important topics for the health of your family?
After all, you are commanded to keep His statutes and commandments; to love God; and to teach His ways to your children!
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
What do your children need?
Spending 7 1/2 minutes around the table and asking them what they need will provide you with the materials or with the subjects that you need to be teaching your family.
Beginning with Scriptures will keep you focused on pleasing God first and honoring Him in everything you teach your children each day.
Try this for 7 1/2 days, for 7 1/2 weeks, or more!
A RHEMA Counseling TOOL to Guide You
These are seven dimensions of wellness of the family that could be addressed during the 7 1/2 precious minutes. What does God teach us in His Word about honoring him in these areas?
B is for body – Does anyone in the family have special physical needs this week? Do you all need to implement a walk together to get more exercise? (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 & 6:19-20 – your body is a temple; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Corinthians 9:27)
E is for emotion – Is anyone depressed or anxious about anything? How can you introduce humor and laughter into your time together? (Proverbs 15:18 – be slow to anger; Philippians 4:6-7; Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Proverbs 15:13)
L is for livelihood – What do Dad and Mom do for a living? What do all of the kids want to do as adults? (Exodus 20:8-11, Deuteronomy 5:12-15 – God commands us to work; Philippians 4:8-9; Proverbs 16:28; Hebrews 13:18; Colossians 3:23 – work as for the Lord; Proverbs 13:4; Philippians 4:13; 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12; Proverbs 14:23)
I is for intellect – How is everyone doing in school? Does anyone need help studying? (Proverbs 1:5 – increase in learning; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 10:17; Proverbs 18:15; 2 Peter 1:5 – faith, virtue & knowledge; Philippians 1:9-11; Daniel 5:14)
E is for environment – Is there any way to change or improve the home environment to accommodate the needs of all or to provide a more peaceful and comfortable setting? (Genesis 1:28; Psalm 1:1-6; 1 Corinthians 4:2 – be found trustworthy; Luke 12:27-30; Psalm 127 – the Lord builds the home & verses 3-4 – children are a heritage from the Lord, …a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior…)
F is for family and friends – How can your family open their home and arms to others to promote lasting and exhorting relationships? (1 Timothy 5:8 provide for your family; Ephesians 6; Genesis 2:24; 1 Corinthians 13; John 15:13; Ecclesiastes 4:10; Proverbs 13:20; Proverbs 18:24; Proverbs 17:17)
S is for spiritual and soul issues – Can you as parents/leaders enhance the spiritual growth of your children by enjoying Scripture reading or Devotional studies together? (1 Thessalonians 5:23 – spirit, soul & body; Grow – Colossians 1:9-10; 1 Peter 2:1-25; Matthew 5:6; Psalm 1:1-3; 2 Peter 1:5-8)
Have conversations about and ask questions of one another based on these 7 dimensions for 7 ½ minutes!
Let us know what you learned from this short experience.
Experiencing Some Resistance?
Will there be grumbling and mumbling? Of course there will be because this is not common practice in your family. It feels unnatural and awkward. And sensitive subjects will sometimes arise that need to be addressed during these precious moments. But remember your children don’t always want to take a math course or reading or writing course at school. They don’t always want to arise early in the morning and get dressed and be ready when it’s time to walk out the door.
Right to Ask / Commanded to Teach
You have as much right to ask them to join with you in this exercise that they are not comfortable with at home, as you do to ask them to do exercises that they don’t want to do at school and sports, and at church and in the community.
After all, you are commanded to keep His statutes and commandments; to love God; and to teach His ways to your children when “sitting, walking, lying, and rising”!
“Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules[a]—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, 2 that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[b] 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Deuteronomy 6 English Standard Version (ESV) (Also Deuteronomy 11:11-25)
A wise Pastor once said to our congregation, “Now, if you can find a time when you are not supposed to be instructing your children in God’s ways; when you are not sitting, walking, lying, and rising, you let me know!”
May God Bless you and your family in this endeavor!
Karen Lindwall-Bourg, MA, LPC-S, FT / Rhemacounseling.com
Posted on February 13, 2015