Post by Jason Wing
A few important disclaimers before you read: a) These are some of the routines that have become valuable in our family. They are NOT intended as a list of things that you should pursue in yours. b) Furthermore, please don’t think that we have flawlessly practiced these. There have been countless drops and failures. c) Lastly, the goal here is to present practical things, not so much theological arguments. So, you’re not going to see a lot of verses of churchy language in this article. All that being said, I hope this helps you and your family in some small way.
5. Bible Story
At the conclusion of family dinner each night, I will get out the Bible, and usually some sort of other devotional guide. We take about 15 minutes to have a Bible story time. I read from the actual printed Bible because I want my kids to see the entirety of Scripture before them. I want them to see that Bible is a precious collection of writings that are set apart from all other books… and that the Scriptures aren’t just some vague quote-worthy material that are pulled out of thin air. But we also value the teaching that our kids are receiving at Apex and we want to dive into it deeper together as a family. So in addition to the Scriptures, we usually use the Old Story New or Long Story Short materials that Apex recommends. To conclude Bible Story time, I simply ask one of the kids to pray about the things we just read and discussed.
Value: The Scriptures are true and meaningful
6. Clean Sweep
After dinner and Bible story time, the kids know that it’s time for “clean sweep”. The kids know that their job is to walk through each room of the house and clean up the mess which has inevitably occurred throughout the course of the day. They must complete “clean sweep” before doing any fun stuff before bed: snack, play time, games, etc… This helps take some of the cleaning load off of Rachel and helps her to be able to truly relax after the kids are in bed.
Value: This is OUR home. WE keep it clean.
7. Bedtime Sing, Pray, & Things We Say
Ever since the kids were little, Rachel and I have sung to the kids at bedtime. This started because Rachel has memories of her dad doing this with her when she was young. Sometimes we sing hymns like Be Thou My Vision; How Great Thou Art; Amazing Grace; Oh, How I love Jesus; etc. Sometimes we sing other songs like Swing Low Sweet Chariot, My God is So Big, Angels Watching Over Me, Jesus Loves the Little Children, etc… Sometimes the kids will sing with us, and sometimes they won’t. Nevertheless, the kids love it and they inevitably ask “Can we sing and pray?” Singing is followed by prayer. Prayer is followed by little sayings that remind our kids of important things. For example, I’ll say to Reagan, “Daddy thinks you’re beautiful inside and out. But remember true beauty is on the inside.” With my boys I’ve developed a little routine which reinforces their identity. Click here to hear more about that. These nightly “routines” have become important to us.
Value: Go to bed with good things on your mind
8. Dates & Man-time
When each of our kids was around age three, I started intentionally making room in my weekly calendar to spend 1-on-1 time with them. My time with my sons is called “man time” and time with my oldest daughter is called a “date.” Man time includes things like getting pancakes, building a bonfire, walking in the woods, playing checkers, building legos, or running errands. Dates include getting hot chocolate at Panera, coloring pictures, walking in the park, shopping, or reading a story. We aren’t able to do this every single week, but that’s the goal.
Value: Each kid is important to daddy
9. Apex & House Church
As our kids have now grown up within Apex culture, one of the things that is normal for them is to be part of church life. They expect that we will be going to Apex Kettering on Saturday nights. They expect that we will be part of a house church meeting during the week. They have built friendships with kids in their weekend classes and kids in our house church. In the past, their babysitters have been members of our house church. This might seem obvious to some, but if you want your kids to grow up valuing the local church, then you need to be committed to one as a family. Rachel and I are deeply thankful that our parents demonstrated this value to us, and we hope to pass this on to our kids as well.
Value: The local church is important
Jason Wing is one of the teaching pastors at Apex. He is an elder and he shepherds a House Church in Region 1. He and his wife, Rachel live in Dayton with their four children.
Check out the Apex Parents blog each Tuesday in April for more posts about discipleship in the rhythms of family life like having meaningful conversations in the mini van, teaching the gospel in the midst of sibling conflict, and imparting a biblical worldview in the natural flow of life.