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Along the Way

You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 11:19

Resolutions. Goals. Habits. Has anyone made any? Given up on any yet?

Why is it so easy to do what we know we shouldn’t, and so hard to do what we know is best? Didn’t Jesus know this as he commands us to love, to do unto others as we would like done to us, to flee from immorality, to treat our bodies as temples?

Uphill. So much of this seems all uphill. As we seek to disciple our children, we want to both model the right behavior and teach them the habits they need to create paths for themselves. We want these paths to be so deeply ingrained, ruts if you will, that it is more difficult to veer off of them than to stay on course.

As you approach this new year and all the discipline and motivation it brings, consider how you might create a new habit and bring your children along with you. If better health is a goal you have, do this alongside your children, talking about it as you do. Show them how to choose a healthy recipe from Pinterest, take them with you to the store to purchase the ingredients, have them don an apron and cook with you, allow them to serve it to the family and tell the story of why they chose this meal.

The habit of healthy movement is one you can add for any age. A weekly bike ride ending at a playground or a family walk can be an opportunity for both fellowship and fitness.

Less electronic time is a goal on almost every parent’s mind. In order to give up such a developed habit, you have to find a new one with which to replace it. Reading a series of books as a family or having each person choose a book to read is an excellent way to not only give up some phone time, but also to share a common story. Then when you walk or drive together, you can discuss the characters and anticipate what might happen next. Even if one parent travels, a video call can include them in the nightly ritual. For elementary or older kids, instead of bedtime, read after dinner as a way to transition toward bedtime without Mom and Dad being too tired to read. Some of our favorite family memories are from shared stories, including ones we listened to on long car rides.

Whatever you choose for your resolutions, include your kids and model for them creating good habits. You know how they remind you about certain things? Perhaps your new habits will be one of them and bring added accountability as well. You don’t have to be prefect. In fact, the failures that will inevitably occur are great opportunities to show your children how to forgive yourself and get back on track when you veer off course. Here’s to a progress this year!

-Ella Herlihy

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