Welcome to Family Faith and Fun Fridays! As the week winds down and I anticipate more family time over the weekend, I often ask God for one good idea that will enable me to bring the Word to life and bring our family together. Usually, the activity overflows out of something the Lord has been teaching me through His Word during the week. I’d like to invite you to join me and my family in the adventure. Sometimes I’ll post things we’ve tried; other times I’ll post an idea in the works. If you’ve got thoughts to add or suggestions on how to adapt or improve the activity, please don’t hesitate to comment. Enjoy!
When the Clang of Life Keeps Us
from Hearing our Heavenly Father
My own craving for time with Jesus this week reminded me of a simple activity I did with the kids last spring. As I seek to raise children who live deep, not just wide, I want them to understand WHY I limit their activities and sometimes encourage them to say no even to good things.
After dinner one night, I called all five kids into the kitchen and armed them with equipment from some of their favorite activities. I gave Luke a basketball and his trumpet. I gave Lizzy a soccer ball and a our play piano keyboard. I handed Hannah a children's book for reading aloud and her tap shoes from dance class. I gave Joshua a bike horn and his remote control race car. Finally, I instructed Maggie to sing and spin as she often does.
On the count of three, I asked all the kids to use their props. With one hand, Luke began bouncing the basketball on the kitchen floor and with the other, he held his silver horn to his lips and began to blow. Lizzy kicked the soccer ball against the kitchen cupboard and tinkled on the piano keys simultaneously. Hannah began to tap dance and paused occasionally to read aloud Green Eggs and Ham . Joshua happily honked his bicycle horn and drove his remote control car under people's legs. Maggie just added her normal sing-song to the mix. As you can imagine, the kitchen was reverberating with noise!
Then, in the midst of all that commotion, Rob walked through the room speaking these words in a normal volume: "Come to me if you'd like dessert. I have dessert for you. Join me at the table if you'd like a treat...." Rob circled through the dribbling, blowing, kicking, juggling, dancing and honking twice before he went and sat down at the table alone. He pulled out a piece of chocolate cake and began to munch.
Eventually, Lizzy spotted her Daddy dining on dessert and hollered, "Hey! Why does Dad get to eat chocolate and we don't?"
At that point, I signaled for all the commotion to halt and the room became quiet. I ushered the kids to the table and asked, "Didn't you hear Daddy invite you to join him for dessert?"
Our clan shook their heads, "no."
Josh remembered that his Dad had walked through the kitchen and Hannah claimed she'd grabbed his hand while she was dancing, but neither of the smallest ones recalled hearing their Daddy's voice. Luke hadn't even noticed when Rob passed by; while Lizzy swore that her Dad hadn't said a word.
"So, you got so busy with your activities that you missed your father's voice?" I summarized.
All the kids agreed that the noise in the kitchen had prevented their hearing the invitation to enjoy dessert with their Daddy.
"What if he invited you now?" I asked. "Would you be able to hear His voice now?"
On cue, Rob's voice cut through the quiet of the kitchen. "Would anyone like to join me for dessert?"
As the kids savored a sweet treat with their Dad, we discussed the implications of our simple demonstration. None of the activities that we were doing in the kitchen were "bad." Basketball, soccer, dance, biking-- all have benefits indeed. Yet sometimes, when we fill our lives with too many "good" activities, we miss out on the "best" God has for us. If we aren't careful, we can fill our lives with the noise of so many activities that we no longer hear our Father's voice. And then, we may miss out on some of His sweetest blessings!
Off course, when we'd finished this little demonstration, the person most impacted by the object lesson was probably me. God continues to patiently teach me first what He wants me to teach my children. Perhaps this lesson will speak to your hurried soul this weekend, as well.
Why not modify this activity to fit the specifics of your family's life? Choose a few props from the activities that fill your days and make some noise. Then position Dad right in the midst of it all (or Mom would work just fine, too.) Don't forget fix your family's favorite dessert to savor in quiet when the demonstration is done.
The Overflow: Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. -Isaiah 55:2