I just started a new job this past week. I must say that this job was a dream job. A nice-sized signing bonus, a decent salary, the ability to work from home, and all the starting equipment. On the service everything seemed great; a dream come true. A true answer to prayer.
Then came training week. I had picked up my laptop, filled out my onboarding paperwork, sat down at my office in the garage, and signed on for my first day at my new company; I even had a company-issued polo for an extra level of professionalism. Then, however, the training started. I found that I was in a digital training room with people half my age, who treated this opportunity in a less than professional manner. Maybe it was because there were over fifty of us on this zoom call, but looking at the small camera feeds on my screen, it looked more like babysitting or online high school than a group of people training to work. That’s fine, I was there to do my job, not theirs.
It then came to light that this company was determined to treat their employees like they’re in high school as well. Constant webcam displays, monitoring keystrokes, and the occasional “Check-In” from management via a LogMeIn-like screen sharing. I may be old-fashioned, but I think I am an adult who can manage himself well and maintain a steady work pace. I don’t need a babysitter.
The trainer said one sentence that was truly the icing on the cake: “If you have to use the restroom during training or during your shifts, you’ll have to check out in (Time managing software)”
That was when I beat my record of the shortest time spent at a job, a whopping twelve hours!
I know you are probably reading this and wondering “What does this have to do with discipleship?” Well, there are a few things we can take away from my twelve hours in corporate America High School. Sometimes we get overwhelmed, stressed and the process of discipleship is not quite what we thought it was. We want to quit. We want to pass this major responsibility to someone else. But here’s the deal, it’s your job now. But, you have been put in charge of your family by God so you create the work environment.
As the employer, they created the environment of rigid monitoring that fostered the environment of distrust, causing them to lose employees who are ready to work and perform for a group of people who cannot work without that level of monitoring.
Jefferson Bethke, in his book “To Hell with The Hustle”, talks about the importance of Sabbath and where you put your focus as a family. He tells us that his living room is centered towards a bookshelf, with his TV sitting to the side in an effort to convey with his home what they, as the parents, value.
My son, Benjamin, found that most of his free time in college involved watching TV. He wanted to change his habits, so he bought an old TV cart and left the entire thing in the closet unless he wanted to use it. Both Jefferson Bethke’s family and my son found that they watched TV less, spent more time reading, and had no desire to return to their old setups.
Now, I am not advocating that you throw your TV away, watching movies is one of my favorite Tuesday night activities. What I am saying is this: You create the environment. And you can change it.
You set the environment of your home. Where you put your values and your time directly affect how your children will see the world and who they will grow up to be
Your children are looking at you; whether there are three years old and trying to figure out the world or 16 and trying to figure out who they are in it, you are sculpting the lens in which they will ultimately see everything. If you watch TV in all your free time, your children will want to do the same. If you watch sports, your children will more than likely do the same. If they constantly see your nose in a book, then they will find the desire to read.
If they only see your faith on Sunday, then they will see that as the requirement for a walk with Christ. If the majority of your conversations are about work, school, scheduling, or any of the other million things we parents have to juggle, then they will see those as the only things that matter.
Where we passively put our priorities is what our children are actively becoming.
If you don’t like the environment you’ve created, you can always change it. Put the TV on the cart and wheel it into the closet. Prioritize what actually matters, and your children will see their value. Make Christ part of your regular conversations; not just on Sunday.
In a study done by Lifeway, some of the most important aspects of a child’s personal walk with Christ growing to adulthood are regularly reading their bible, regularly praying, and actively seeing their parents live their faith.
Discipleship is a responsibility given by God. We are called to be the spiritual leaders of our household. In the book of James, he says that teachers are held to a higher standard in righteousness. Who is a teacher but the men and women who are shaping their children with every action they take, every word that they say?
So back to the original question: How do we start?
First: locate your bible, dust it off, and open it.
If you are not learning yourself, you have no chance of leading your children to the way everlasting. You cannot lead where you have not first been yourself.
Second: Pray and ask the Lord to show you what He has for you to share.
Believe it or not, God is on your side here. He wants you to grow closer to Him and lead your children; His children closer to Him as well. As James also says, pray earnestly for wisdom and you will receive it.
Third: Pray and share what the Lord has taught you.
Create opportunities to share what you have learned in your own study. Create opportunities to teach your children and learn together. If there is one thing that I have learned as a Children’s Pastor, it’s that we adults often have a lot to learn from our kids.
And if I could challenge you; just start.
It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it has to be done. You will grow into it. No one starts well. No one knows exactly what to do. Every parent and every child is different and so no two paths will be exactly the same.
At the end of the day, your kids are becoming someone. Who are they becoming? If you are not teaching them about God, who is?