If you haven’t noticed, Steve and I have a passion for our family. We keep an eye trained on our own, like investors monitoring the stock market. Our family is our life, our heritage – our future – being built right now. As such, it deserves top priority and the best of our energy.

The foundation of the life we share with our children is our own faith. We want Adrienne and Addison to serve God with us, of course. But more than that, we want them to do everything with us – travel, exploring, hiking, movie nights, and projects. As I once told a friend, “We had them to have them.” The life we are leading we lead together as a solid family, headed in the same direction. Our kids will gain autonomy and independence, but the commonalities we develop right now will keep us connected our whole lives. To Steve and I, this is the very essence of family. I missed it growing up, but now relish the chance to establish it purposefully.

A Freeze Frame Moment

Recently, our family traveled to Kentucky. My husband is a talented sound engineer; so we occasionally accompany our friend’s worship band. This particular event was a conference held in a massive auditorium. The kids and I met up with Steve at the conclusion, while the band was loading their instruments. The crowd was gradually moving our direction, eager to meet our friend Dustin, the band’s leader. Out of the cadence of voices greeting him floated a sentence that arrested me. “My teenage son used to hate worship, until he heard you this summer at camp.”

I don’t know this family but I’m so very glad they met Dustin and were impacted by his passion. That is exactly why we are proud to be associated with his ministry. Still, overhearing that statement stopped me in my tracks. What if this were our son? What if we had such a disconnect between who we are and who our child is becoming?

Danger Alert

We refuse to adopt a casual, wait-and-see plan. As I said, we have a vision for a thriving, lifelong family connection. To arrive at this endpoint, we must be steady on a certain course. A son who detests something like worship, foundational to our faith, means we aren’t truly going in the direction we intended. It’s time for a course correction.

I’m not talking about harsh discipline, which shames a young man for feeling this way. Rather, I would pin the blame more on our parenting, then change the strategy we’re using with our son. Obviously, he needs more time with us in order to become like us. He needs to hear our own collection of faith stories, the journey that got us to where we are in our relationships with God. Out of our treasure trove of stories, we share regularly with Adrienne and Addison – and not just when we are reading the Bible together before school. (Alternatively, what if this young man is just like his parents and is only transparently reflecting the lackluster faith he sees modeled in the home…? Just a thought.)

How to Win Your Child’s Heart

We look for ways to be invited deeper into our kid’s lives. If we want them to know God like we do, we must win their hearts the way He has won ours. What are they interested in that we can be a part of? How can we use it connect on a more regular basis? For example, our kids love to read; so when I see them with a book, I often grab my own and snuggle up with them. Adrienne enjoys crafts so we hit Hobby Lobby, and then head home for messy glue gun and glitter sessions. Addison is a daredevil so Steve built him a BMX bike ramp and they do crazy stunts, offering GoPro videography for later analysis. If we want them to stay connected to us, it’s a two way street.

Strike While the Iron is Hot

It’s essential that we build our families intentionally, with a vision and a plan. Imagine what you want the future to look like and begin shepherding your family that direction.  We unearth so much joy, and so much beauty in this process.

Oh, that every family seize this beautiful opportunity while the window of time is still open!

Written by Melissa Brendtro