Forget for a second that your teenagers pretend they don’t want to be around you. Forget that the first time you try to do this it is going to feel awkward. Forget that you feel like you don’t know the right way to do it.
Just pick a time of the day and go for it. Use a Bible reading plan. Read together for 15 mins. Talk about what you read. Then close in prayer.
Don’t worry if at first it doesn’t seem fruitful. What’s important is the routine of reading the Bible together as a family.
Because reading the Bible as a family does four things for your family:
First, it shows that you as the parent value the Bible.
This might seem like a small thing. It’s not. Teen’s attitude toward the Bible will often reflect their parent’s attitude toward the Bible. If teens don’t see their parents holding the Bible in high esteem, then neither will they. One of the greatest ways parents can contribute to the faith of their students is to share with them why they (the parents) reads the Bible, and how it has changed their lives.
Second, it centers your family around God’s Word.
Every time your family reads the Bible together, you are in a very simple way saying to your family that “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” It’s a simple reminder to the family that your family is not like other families. Your family has different values, different traditions, different expectations. Your family is a family that seeks to follow Jesus. When you read the Bible together as a family you are reshaping your family’s identity. You’re grounding your family in something bigger than sports, music, video games, clothes, appearances, and other stuff. You’re giving your kids a sense of security that is hard to find anywhere else.
Third, when families read the Bible together it opens up the lines of dialogue.
Having trouble talking to your teens? Read the Bible together. Then ask them what came to their mind as they read (or heard) the words? What questions did they have? What did it make them think about God? What about their their life? About their friend’s lives? Don’t worry about having all the right responses. Instead just focus on hearing what is on your teen’s heart. Think of it as a three-way conversation between you (the parents), your teens, and God. Trust that God’s Word is alive and active. And overtime God will use His Word to open up your teen to sharing what is on his or her heart.
Fourth, it might just save their marriage (and yours).
This might seem random, but it’s not. There is a long held belief that the divorce rate in America is 50%. Now it turns out that it’s not quite that high at all. But do you know what the divorce rate is for couples who regularly read their Bibles together or pray together– less than 1%. That means if you help your children feel like reading the Bible as a family is normal, they might just do that with their spouse one day. And it might just be the one consistent practice that gives them the foundation to weather all the storms of life that come in a marriage. Not to mention reading the Bible as family will likely strengthen your marriage, which will in turn give you children a healthier picture of marriage. It’s win-win.
Yeah, it might be awkward. Yes, it will take some practice. But know that it is worth it.
Because families that read the Bible together are simply, better families.
Oh, we heard the groans and got the looks sometimes, but now if you asked our kids about reading the bible together every morning or nite (depending on age) when they were young they would tell you it was very important to them. Do it parents. It sticks better when they are young. Builds a good foundation.Use the Message or an understandable version of the bible. You will never regret the time and effort.
Pat, that’s so good to hear. We’ve had a few rough nights ourselves:)