For the last few months we have been reading a chapter in the book of Proverbs everyday. Since there are 31 chapters we read the one that goes with the corresponding date, so today we read Proverbs 16. If we miss a day we just skip it and go on to the date that it is on the calendar. These readings, however, have become a very special time of the day for us and we don't miss very often. Our usual time to read them, although not always, is right before the kids go to bed.
This has really been a blessing for us as it has opened the way for us to talk with the kids about things that we want to talk to them about but don't often come up in conversation. For example, many proverbs deal with things they haven't come up against yet and we have the luxury of discussing them before it is a "what were you thinking when you did that" conversation and they are on the defense instead of openly listening with nothing hanging over our heads.
Some of the chapters are hard to talk about with them at the ages they are. Proverbs 5 and 6 are about adultery, a difficult topic to talk about with a nine year old. We muddle through it the best we can on his level of understanding.
As we read the kids will say "oh, I remember that one" or even to my pleasant surprise "that verse is just like the verse about ________." and they will be able to pull a verse out of another chapter and apply it to the one we are reading with great accuracy. After we finish reading the chapter we will pick out a verse or two we want to touch on, be it one we think important or something that has been happening the last month, either in our home, community or the news, and we want to bring it to their attention. We also ask what verse they liked and why. Again, I am often pleasantly surprised by their insight and understanding of the verses.
There has also been a huge shift in behavior since we started this, in both the kids and myself. It is so easy to forget the lessons of Proverbs when we don't read them daily. One time when Dancer was with a friend, the friend corrected Dancer about something but the friend was wrong. Dancer said to me later that she let it go and didn't argue with her because it was just something petty and we shouldn't argue with others just to show ourselves right. Another time, when we were at an event, two of her friends were going to go out to sit in a car and listen to music. She wouldn't go with them because following them could be the wrong path. The other girls didn't get to go out anyway when their mother heard what they had in mind.
Do I now expect that the kids will always be wise and make the right choices? No, I know that they have free will and there is always temptation lurking around every corner. I do hope that from the back of their minds they will able to bring these lessons forward and apply them so they can avoid a lot of the hardships in life that come from making poor choices and it protects them a little from those things. I also hope the same for myself. It has become glaringly clear that I have lots of areas that need improvement in my life and my actions. I share this with the kids as well, that learning to follow God is a life long journey and that everyone has areas that they struggle with over and over and over with. I also share with them the areas in which I don't want to change but know that I need to to be pleasing to God.
New this month we added reading a Psalm every day. The kids take turns picking a number and then we read the Psalm that is the number they choose. Today they choose the last Psalm and it was so happy I will share it here.
Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
vv praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
vv praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
vv praise him with the harp and lyre.
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
vv praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
vvpraise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise
Praise the Lord.