My family went on a week long bike trip last year. My oldest daughter came home from college to captain a tandem with her middle-school sister. My high-school son rode a single bike and my father came along to drive our van and be “the crew.” My husband and I looked after our brood from our seats on our own tandem bicycle as we rode hundreds of miles over seven days.
Lots of planning went into getting ready for our week of family togetherness. We logged lots of training miles to get prepared for the trip and secured all the necessary gear for a week spent living outdoors. And I wanted this trip to be more than just bicycling and silliness. I wanted it to be a time of connection for our family. Thinking that this might be our last big trip with all of our children, I wanted to make lasting memories together--not just physically and socially, but spiritually.
We have always done dinnertime devotions with my husband and I sharing in the Bible reading and leading discussion. Our children take turns opening and closing with prayer and discussing the questions we ask, but rarely do kids choose the devotion or share their personal thoughts about the topic. For the week of our trip, I asked each family member to be prepared to lead devotions one night.
We told our kids to look for God sightings in their day and share a Bible passage that had special meaning for them. Each night after long miles of riding and adventures with 10,000 other riders exploring the Iowa sights, my family drew together and listened not just to parents, but to what their siblings or grandpa was learning about God that day.
It was awesome to see them rise to this leadership opportunity. They guided us through the scripture that was resonating with their hearts and helped us to see these verses in a whole new light. It was so cool to see them claiming the Bible as their own and sharing how they saw God working in their lives. This was a reminder to me that leading others is a way that we internalize the message ourselves; we have to dig into scriptures ourselves to lead someone else.
It was touching to hear the things that our children were inspired by. I felt so incredibly privileged to get a front row seat to see how God was working in their hearts. I think we often miss knowing what is on the hearts of our kids simply because we fail to ask. It occurred to me that I should be giving them more opportunities to share at home about what they are learning and how God is challenging them. If as parents our goal is to raise up adults who walk with God, shouldn’t we give them opportunities to show how their growth is coming?