Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Spiritual Formation at the Kasselmans, Kinda'

I have never felt less equipped for the challenge of parenting as I do right now with a Middle Schooler. Everything seems to be weighted with future consequences and I feel like I am second guessing myself all the time...I may make a fatal mistake and mess things up in significant ways. David keeps the balance and reminds me that many a child has survived and thrived with worse parenting and our children too will be okay. Okay?? Who wants okay, can you define okay. You get the picture...I am a little paranoid right now :-)

One of those challenges is how to have some semblance of family devotional time with a 6 year old and a 6th grader. Yes, we can do our own thing with each of them at bedtime, but I was looking for something more family like. Our church has a bible reading program called MyWord but that did not seem to be working well for us, so back to the drawing board I went.

Finally I came up with a calendar that I drew up that has 4 nights of activity per week based around a theme. Meditation Monday, Terrific Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursday and Feeling Friday. I know a little cheesy, but the kids love it. Tuesdays are for sharing something terrific about the theme of the week, Thursday is an action day of doing something for someone else also determined by the theme of the week and Friday is when we talk about an emotion linked to the theme of the week. Monday is our scripture for the week and the other days are the living out of the ideas in the Monday passage through service and reflection. Are you with me? One goal being that it is an avenue for Michaela to share because she is emotionally quite a closed child. Spencer not so much.

Meditation Monday is quite fascinating. We read a Psalm aloud, read it again silently to ourselves and then read it again. We sit for a minute or two (this is a 6 year old and a 6th grader remember) and think about what we have read. We all have a turn to then share what stands out to us in the passage. The idea is to begin teaching the idea of meditating on scripture or a very basic version of lectio divinia.

Well last night, we did Psalm 23 and Michaela shared first about how cool the idea of living with God forever is. When we asked her why, she very matter of factually said, "you are living forever with your creator - that is pretty awesome." (insert - seriously, could you guys not see that?) Not really. And then Spencer started. Oh my!
"Well the part I like is this...He leads me beside quiet waters."
His voice getting softer and more sappy.
"I...I..I just like the quiet water part."
Eyes down at the text, serious face. A few seconds of silence and then insert a loud, dramatic voice
"It is not crashing and kabooming and whooshing water. It is like a lake, a stream"
Back to the golf commentator tone -
"It is calm. I just like that part."
We affirmed that and asked a question about it to which he responded.
"Well God is with us in the easy things and the hard things. Hard things like when the dog bites me or the cat attacks me. Or I have to crawl in dark places???"
Yes, we said and perhaps also harder things like when there is an illness or someone dies. Michaela suggested times like when Nana died.
David and I could not look at each other because we were ready to bust out laughing.
Calm waters, animal attacks, dark places all in a quivery voice...
How did we get such a "to the point" daughter and overly emotional son?

Both kids observations out of Psalm 23 were great. Thankfully there is no right way to do this. Just being together around the word matters.


susan said...

Arlene, on the "middle school thing"....I'm feelin' ya sister. Could there be a more confusing time, parentally? (not to mention the kids!) I take comfort in knowing that no matter how bad I screw up sometimes, there is no way I can thwart God's plan for Barrett & Gracen. And... those times when I do screw up, God, in his sovreignty, will use those times for their good and His own glory. So incomprehensibly cool.

Amy said...

I'm with ya too on that middle school stage. The times they are a-changin. I need to read Psalm 23 about the still waters.

Love your devotional ideas!