Being a mother to five children, I welcome the structure August brings. Swimsuits and towels hung in our mudroom trade places with backpacks stuffed with new school supplies waiting to be used. There’s something enticing about the fresh start and clean slate the new school year brings. As mothers we use this time to implement practical ways to help our children put their best feet forward as they embark on their journey through elementary, middle, and high school. Establishing effective routines is an essential piece to keep us from running around frantically before we leave the house daily. This sets the tone for their day as well as ours. Trust me, despite our best effort and even with Alexa’s prodding support, we find ourselves up against the morning bell often. Not only do these useful daily practices support a successful school year, but we also have the privilege and responsibility of being intentional with guiding our children’s spiritual walk. This can be done in a variety of ways, but I want to share something special we do in our household.
Roughly seven years ago my father-in-law built a dinner table for my family. While doing this, it was his prayer that it would be the focal point of our home. He prayed that we would gather around it daily to discuss the ways of the world and how that measures up to God’s Word. It was also his hope that we would sit down for dinner to discuss our day and share struggles, stories, laughter, and fellowship. Not only does the dinner table exhibit my father-in-law’s talent, it is a daily reminder of his love not only for our family but for the Lord.
I can honestly say his prayer was answered almost immediately upon receiving the table. As our children grow taller and as their individual relationships with God deepen, we can see their spiritual roots preparing them for the challenges of daily life. Through these discussions at this table, we pray we are helping shape them into God-loving individuals.
In years past we discussed Bible verses or stories and how they applied to a specific situation or challenge our kids were facing. As we march forward into the 2023-2024 school year, we will continue our tradition and have decided to pair each month with one of the Fruits of the Spirit starting with Love for the month of September. We will discuss the nine fruits over the next 9 months: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control, and how they can be applied daily, especially within the four walls of their school. We look forward to dinner together as a family because it remains our constant in this world where time and schedules truly are a thief. Dinner together is our time to pause, pray, reflect, and discuss. I pray that you too will feel encouraged to continue or perhaps start new family traditions around your dinner table, nourishing the stomachs and the hearts of your children.