It is an unprecedented time in history, one in which you have the entire world in your jacket pocket.
At this year’s Entrusted Ministries benefit, our speaker challenged us as parents to take note of how much time we spend staring at our phone screens, and specifically, how much time our kids see us staring at our phone screens.
The kids of the past, as the speaker pointed out, knew when Mom was on the phone with Aunt Margaret, or when she was paying bills, writing out a recipe, or reading her Bible. Today, all kids see is that you’re on your phone, and they have no way of knowing what you are doing in the abyss of that screen.
Tech is a way of life now. We text our favorite aunt, pay our bills online, and use apps to look up recipes and memorize Scripture. It is a reality and a foregone conclusion that kids are going to see us on our phones.
Furthermore, work and home are more blended than ever. My husband still has the luxury of working in an office where the kids never see him in front of a computer, but my work hours are logged from home with the kids watching. Like it or not, they are going to have memories of me in front of the very keyboard on which I write this post.
The good news is, this isn’t a post to make you (or me) feel guilty. We know that they’ll probably remember us on our screens. We just have to make sure they also remember us in the Word.
You and I can be wise women who realize that we have the power to affect our kids’ perceptions, and memories, and faith, and that we can affect them for good. We are in the process of leaving a legacy through their memories. What will it be?
Kids remember routines. Far more than they remember a singular outing, the images emblazoned in their memories are the ones they see over and over again. This is the reason that quantity time is so important, why little choices add up, and why speakers are talking about parents being on their phones. It’s why I can still see my mom in a flannel nightgown, propped against the pillow on her side of the bed, late at night, reading lamp on, Bible in her lap, open to the Psalms. I can see the highlighting and pencil marks and worn pages, and I can see the striped black leather case with the zipper that she never closed. I don’t remember that because I found her like that once. I remember that because I found her like that all the time.
I am resolved to do what I can to affect my kids’ memories of me and God’s Word. Yes, they will remember me working hard over a computer. But I’m determined that they’ll also remember me in my spot at the kitchen table—coffee poured and Bible open—first thing in the morning, delighting in the well-worn pages of Scripture. I’ll be in pajama pants, with a jar of colored pencils and a polka-dot notebook where I scrawl notes about what God is teaching me.
I recently got a new Bible. I shed tears over my old one! My Bible was over ten years old, and was given to me by my in-laws when I was a new bride. I’ve read it cover to cover at least three times, and have studied its contents in depth. It’s scribbled in and highlighted on every single page. It is a record of God’s faithfulness for more than a decade. When it fell apart I was so sad, but I was also excited to write a note and tuck it inside the cover, knowing I’m leaving it for my daughter.
My friend Joanna is doing the same for her kids. She told her husband she wanted to leave a well-worn Bible for each of her four sons. That Christmas her husband bought her four copies of the same Bible so she could get started. Talk about accountability!
My husband bought me my new Bible for Christmas, and I’m going to leave it to one of my sons. My next Bible will go to the other. There is something agonizing about the blank pages, and yet so compelling! What do you have for me God? How quickly can I dig in and mark this thing up? What will the next decade bring that this book will comfort me through? How much more will I know you in ten years? I have a renewed fervor for studying it, motivated by those blank pages, and especially thinking about leaving it one day to my son.
I am convicted about passing down a legacy to my kids of loving God’s Word. I want them to have memories of me reading it, and when I’m gone a tangible reminder in their hands of how much I loved it.
So what’s the application of these convictions? There are two simple things we can do.
1) Pick a time, and a spot. Whether it’s first thing in the morning or on the couch when they come down from a nap, carve out the spot in your home where your kids will always remember you studying the Bible. And then make sure you get there, regularly!
2) Think of your Bible as an heirloom. Mark it up, and write down the things that God is teaching you. Let your kids see his faithfulness upon the pages. One day they will treasure it.
Do these things, and we will leave our kids the legacy of the well-loved Word.