In Psalm 90, we learn that time is so precious and that our days ought to be numbered (v. 12). Our life is but a vapor (James 4:14), and we must be careful to plan our days with useful and helpful endeavors. If care is not taken, we will find ourselves squandering our time and failing in the education and nurturing of our children. We must walk circumspectly (i.e. carefully, like an acrobat), buying up the time because the days are evil (Eph. 5:15-16).
Buying up the time and numbering our days implies that families ought to have a course of action for the edification, education, and spiritual exercise of their children. All secular educational institutions see the necessity of proper planning for a maximum educational experience. But what about the family? Is God’s educational institution for children any less important? Should not families have at least a sketchy outline and set objectives for each family member? Indeed, we should be planning for our children’s spiritual progress and rearing. Parenting involves planning and not passivity. Consider the following questions in view of the principle of planning:
1 From year to year, month to month, or even week to week, do you have in mind what you want your children to learn? Why not establish a curriculum for the home where specific books of the Bible are taught or emphasized throughout a quarter, etc. Some families create a chart of objectives to be mastered which involves memorizing pertinent facts, Scriptures, listings, names, etc., and when that objective is completed, it is duly noted on the chart so that both children and parents can monitor the progress.
2 Do you make arrangements and plan for your child’s participation in Bible camps, “Bible Bowls,” youth devotionals, lectureships, etc.?
3 Do you plan meaningful activities that will reinforce spiritual values, such as taking your children to visit the sick or the elderly?
4 Do you involve them in home projects designed to encourage others, such as baking food for the needy, writing letters to Bible class teachers, elders, or newcomers? OR, do you allow them to watch hour upon hour of television or play video games unceasingly?
5 Do you plan work details for helping the family, such as gardening, yard work, painting, cleaning, fence-building, etc. These things build character, impart wisdom, and prevent laziness. Consider these passages: Proverbs 6:6-11; I Kings 1-5; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Proverbs 24:3-4, 33-34; 26:13-16.
6 Do you set aside time for Bible class homework assigned by the teacher in the local congregation? If this is not planned, it can so easily be forgotten until the mad rush to the building just before Bible class, when it is impossible to thoroughly concentrate and study.
7 Do you plan to be at every assembly of the church (Heb. 10:24-25)?
8 Do you plan your schedule around the activities of the local church, or do other activities come first?
9 Do you plan to schedule time for family devotionals?
10 Do you plan outings for family enjoyment? I have found that a fishing trip, hike, or a ride in the country are excellent ways to foster communication and provide teaching opportunities. Observing the design of God’s creation can reinforce the truths our children learn in the classroom. These outings also provide lasting memories, as funny, humorous, and serious events often occur.
Again, these things will only occur when we plan for them. It is imperative that families secure the future by making plans today. If we fail to plan, we will one day experience regret and dismay over what could have been. With children, we only receive one opportunity. They grow and mature so rapidly; so let us make the most of these tender years by effectively planning our days and weeks.