I have thought often about the story of how God spoke to young Samuel in the Old Testament. 1 Samuel 3:10 states, "Then the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, 'Samuel! Samuel!' And Samuel said, 'Speak, for Thy servant is listening.'"
What impresses me is that this young boy knew it was God. I wonder how many of our children would be able to hear God calling their names through all the noise in the background?
I believe there is great value in learning to be still—not watching TV or doing computer games, but reading, listening to soft music, or pursuing calm hobbies. This environment is also necessary for teaching your child how to have a daily time of prayer and Scripture reading and will be the foundation for a vibrant relationship with God.
A few years ago we decided to make the Sabbath a day of rest in our family. We learned that slowing everybody down and changing the routine is not easy.
We try to make sure our children get their schoolwork done by Saturday night. We do our best not to shop on Sunday. If they want to listen to music, it has to be Christian. And we try to limit phone calls to family only.
Sunday afternoon at our place is pretty quiet. Lots of naps, reading, and recreation. Relationship building. There's more we could do to make the Sabbath restful, but even these simple things help.
As we have emphasized quiet and rest in our family, we've even discovered a surprising side benefit of "grounding." We use grounding as a disciplinary measure for preadolescents and young teens because it inflicts the pain of separation from peers. After the initial moaning subsides, however, the child relaxes and actually enjoys hanging out at home and catching up on family time. Of course, you probably will not get this message verbally from the child, but you can see it in his attitude!
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