It is unfortunate, but the holidays are a difficult time for some parents. It is very painful for me to watch my teenage children waste their time on vacation, as we live in the city. Of course, in order not to get here, their education should have been earlier. When you have time, you can write a guide by age group, such as what leisure activities would be constructive for our children – what to do with their mother or father, or what a single parent can do. I mean personal activities, not where to send them. May God help us.
In this article, I am not giving you a guide to leisure activities by age group, but I am giving you some useful advice from the Holy Scriptures that will be good for any parent.
1. Teach children the Holy Scriptures
Our greatest responsibility as parents is to teach our children how to relate to God and how to build a good relationship with Him. Here is what it says in the book of Deuteronomy:
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NASB)
The same responsibility of ours is repeated many times in the pages of the Holy Scriptures, but I want to mention the New Testament commandment, which is found in Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians and says:
Fathers,do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4 NASB)
Summer vacation gives us plenty of time and opportunities to teach children the Bible. Therefore, plan your time well so that you can study the Bible with them daily. I recommend the exceptional inductive Bible study materials for children and those in the 40-minute lesson series. Plan to have at least one hour of Bible study with the whole family each day, and then pray together.
It is sad to find that most people, including Christians who read the Bible and go to church, ignore their responsibility to teach their children. A cat came to our yard and now has kittens. In the morning, while I drink my coffee, I look at how she teaches her children and how responsible she is as a mother in this regard. There is also another cat, which I assume is their father. He also comes and teaches them to hunt, climb, and plays with them continuously. Sometimes he comes with a mouse in his mouth, which is obviously teaching material and teaches them how to hunt. I look at these cats and think that animals do their parental responsibility better than humans do.
2. Talk to the children
Do not limit communication with children to Bible study and prayer, sharing responsibilities, or rebuking and instructing them. This will make them not want to talk to you anymore and they will wait for you to finish faster what you have to say in order to leave the presence of their parents. Seek to discuss with your children the things that are interesting to them, tell them what they want to know, answer their questions without ignoring them and always speak wisely, interestingly and motivatingly for them. Here is what God has commanded us regarding our parental responsibility:
In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. (Deuteronomy 6:20-21 NASB)
Never ignore the questions your children ask you, because if you ignore them, they will go elsewhere to seek answers and become victims of evil and destructive teachings and will leave the faith and the church. Answer all the questions and tell them about your personal experience with God. And if they give you questions you don’t know the answers to, look for them and answer them. Search this site, because we have answers to many questions. If you do not find the answer here, use the form on the site to ask us the question and we will make a joint effort to answer the children’s questions. We will do all this because we want our children to be saved and good disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. Share responsibilities with the children
Nowadays, many parents have an exaggerated tendency to protect their children from work. This is dangerous for the present, but also for their future. Without responsibilities they look for occupation and often end up doing things that their friends are urging them to do, and these can be sinful and destructive things for them, such as drugs, theft, drunkenness, etc. Even if you live in the city, I am sure that as parents you have a lot of work, a lot of responsibilities. Each day, plan your to-do list, list your responsibilities, and share them with your children. Give each of them something to do from the amount of work you have at home or maybe even at work. Involve your children in what you do. This is also a good opportunity to teach them to love work. Thus, you will teach children not to live in disorder, for this is a great problem, and the apostle Paul vehemently confronted it when he wrote:
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:6-12 NASB)
Be reasonable and don’t give children too much to do, but don’t ignore this discipline, which teaches them to be responsible and not to live their lives in disarray.
4. Don’t let children do unnecessary or meaningless things
Do you remember the text quoted above, where we are commanded, as parents, not to make our children angry? I remember a teacher who, being abandoned by her husband, raised her children alone. Once, during the lesson, she scolded us for being lazy (and she was mostly right) and told us that at home tells her daughter to knit a coat, then unravels it and gives it to her again to knit something else and so on, to keep her daughter busy. She also told us that she tells the boy to carry a pile of stones from one end of the garden to the other and then the next day to carry them back, and so on. Can you try to put yourself in the shoes of those kids and imagine what it’s like to do something meaningless while the other kids are playing or hitting the ball in the stadium? When we all heard this, we were glad that she was not the mother of any of us, because she was hardening her children in anger and, unfortunately, the effects were not long in coming. For the most part, the consequences came down not only over the children’s heads, but also over hers. Be careful not to fall into this trap and give your children useful things to do that will bring joy to them and to their families and to all the people for whom those things are done.
5. Make sure you know who your child’s friends are
In the Holy Scriptures it is written:
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character. (1 Corinthians 15:33 NASB)
Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. (Proverbs 13:20 NASB)
Talk to your children, ask questions, ask others, and make sure, as parents, that you know their friends. Especially in adolescence, friends have a great influence and the child can deviate from the right path and get caught in immorality, drugs, stealing, drinking, or destructive teachings such as New Age, etc. Both when on vacation, and when they go to school, always ask who the child’s friends are. Let him invite his friends home and so you will get to know them and have the opportunity to talk to them, tell them the gospel, help those children to become disciples of Jesus Christ. If you see that their influence is dangerous, you will know when to tell the child that he must break off the relationship with them and do it through the method of persuasion. This is wise and you need to take care to create opportunities for your child to make friends with children who love God.
6. Spend time with your child
Whether you go to work or travel, or are caught up in other responsibilities, always look to spend time with your child. If possible, take him to work to help you there. If you can, take him on a trip. Seek to spend time with him and when you are together, talk to him from the Holy Scriptures, talk about things that are interesting to him, answer his questions, play together (play is an exceptional way to learn and build relationships). When the children were small, I played with them to the fullest. I didn’t care that I was big and that others didn’t do this. I played with them in the yard and garden and any game they proposed, I was ready to play. That’s how (and not only that) we became friends with our children and we always liked to spend time together.
7. Create children’s vision for the future
Few parents think ahead and really help their children to achieve in life. We must create a vision for our children of their future and help them to realize themselves as disciples of Jesus Christ, to live a beautiful and fruitful life on this earth, and to enter heaven with glory. The sage Solomon said:
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6 NASB)
If we talk to the children about the path they need to follow in life according to the abilities and talents that God has endowed them with, then they will begin to use their vacation time to develop these abilities and skills, they will begin to learn the trade or activity they will be doing in the future and will not waste time as most do. If the child, for example, likes music and we as parents will take an interest in motivating him and helping him learn it, even if it sometimes involves excruciating expenses, we will help him to realize the path he has to take.
Translated by Didina Vicliuc