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Why WE, the parents, need discipleship at home

The other day I sat down and wrote out a list of all the things that “needed” to be done. The list felt immeasurably long and I quickly felt overwhelmed. I couldn’t even figure out where to start because the needs all felt pressing and demanding of my attention.

I have a feeling I’m not alone in this. I have a feeling that there are other parents out there to at times feel a crushing load of responsibility and the “to do” list becomes a veritable giant in our eyes.

Everything changed for me in an instant that day when I got an email from one of my child’s teachers. The email shared in the kindest terms that this teacher was worried about my daughter. She didn’t seem herself. Something seemed off.

Bam. The list was smoke. I set it aside and immediately turned all of my energy to one thing—finding out what was going on with my girl. I emailed my husband, I emailed her teacher, we set up a meeting, and I actually ended up picking her up from school for lunch and taking her out for some much needed talk time. That evening after the day ended, I looked at the list. Much of what “needed” to be done was left undone…but the one thing that needed to be done was done.

My daughter needed me that day. The power of that one need quickly overcame all the other ones. The weight of that one interaction obliterated the perceived burden of the rest.

It’s not that the rest weren’t important. We need to do things like laundry and shopping, car maintenance and home repairs, job responsibilities and church responsibilities. They are important…but they aren’t the “most” important.

Sometimes discipleship at home isn’t just about faith talks and family devotions. Sometimes discipleship at home means we prioritize the person over the plan. Sometimes it means that we, the parents, step back from the responsibilities in order to invest in the child. The choice to break free from the many demands of the day and focus on the heart of our child speaks volumes to them about their importance in the family and in God’s kingdom.

Sometimes discipleship at home is as much for us as it is for them. It’s a chance for us to refocus on the eternal and to regain perspective on what is most important. What God mandated for us to impress upon our children—those commands were supposed to first be written upon our hearts. Let’s be sure that is indeed the case; that what is written on the to-do list never overwhelms what is written on our heart. Let’s always hold loosely to the things that fill our day but tightly to the things that fill our eternity. Our investment in our children may mean that some other needs go unmet that day, but the greatest needs will find fulfillment that lasts far beyond the day.

Christina Embree
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