Question: I feel like things are unraveling in our culture and I just don’t know how to live a Christian life well. I feel like there are outside influences everywhere and I’m not sure how to combat this. I can’t seclude my family and live like monks, so what are some practical things I can do?
Answer: Great question! I think a lot of people feel this way, especially Christian parents that are trying to raise their kids well. As Christians, we are called to live in the world, but not for the world. That’s tricky. I heard the other day on a podcast someone say, “The world catechizes us 24/7, whereas most of us only get God in our lives for one hour on Sundays. We can’t expect to win this battle with one hour a week.”
I think a lot of people think that living a Christian life in a good and wholesome way sounds bland and boring. There is this misconception that to live the Christian life well, you have to frown, draw your curtains from the evils of the outside, and refrain from all fun. Not true! The Christian life lived well is challenging, joyful, and full of love. All the families I know that truly try to live out their Christian faith with passion are some of the best people to hang around. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Ditch TV. Seriously. I know, it’s hard, but then it really isn’t. Our family ditched the tv probably about five years ago and it really has been a huge blessing. Our society has become so conditioned to the tv entertaining us that we struggle to think of how to replace it. Most of what is on tv is what the culture wants you to accept and believe in. And, honestly, most of it lacks any moral compass. There are so many other ways, as a family, to spend your time. Our family does use tv for sports (love my K-State wildcats!) and hand-picked movies and educational shows.
- Read together as a family. Read the Classics. Read magazine articles and discuss them. Pick a news story and read it and then talk about it. Our family reads Classics together and my older kids love the stories. Classics have a good moral theme that runs through them. We also read the Bible together. We encourage our kids to ask questions and talk about things that don’t make sense or sound just plain confusing. It’s a good time to really talk about how the Bible applies to our lives in the 21st century.
- Get out in nature. We are a people inundated with gadgets. Our kids need to get out in God’s creation and experience it. Exercising and exploring together as a family creates memories. Fifty years from now, nobody is going to reminisce by saying, “Remember all those good times we all spent on our iPhones?” They will instead say, “Remember that time we hiked in Death Valley or played football on the beach together?”
- Eat dinner together. We have all the gadgetry and technology we could possibly want, which are supposed to help us be less busy. Yet, we all complain we are too busy. Dinners don’t have to be extravagant, they just need to happen. Families need to come together and connect. Don’t allow phones or tablets at the table either–we need to connect with those in front of us.
- Pray together. Before bed come together for prayers. Our family likes to get on our knees in our living room and pray together. Pray for others, pray for each other, thank God for His blessings, and ask for His guidance for the next day. It’s a great way to end the day. If this is new to your family, just start with an Our Father or a prepared prayer that you can find easily online.
These are just a few ideas to help get you started. People in your family may resist at first, but I promise that over time, everyone will love and enjoy the changes. As Christians, our lives are to look different. Since adopting these practices in our family, we feel more connected to each other and Christ, we are more joyful, and I feel like we are better preparing our children to handle the outside world.