O...P...Q.

Back to the ABC's... Q is for Quiet Time.

For this particular instance, I'm referring to the "quiet time" we have with our heavenly Father as followers of Christ. (I do wholeheartedly advocate down time, or quiet time reading and playing alone, for children as well!) If you struggle to have a disciplined time with God as an adult it is probably as a result of not having a routine, yet meaningful quiet time with the Lord. Some ways I am trying to teach my young children to have a personal quiet time:

1. Listening to audio Bible CDs. (Kids have an amazing knack for audio learning.)

2. Listening to Bible verses set to music.

3. Copying a Bible verse out of his own Bible after reading a passage.

4. Keeping a prayer journal. Pictures are okay...they understand what they've drawn!

5. Talk to them about the "why" and not just the "how" of having a quiet time.

6. Have a quiet time yourself.

P is for Portrait.

I am a painter. And I've never painted a portrait of any of my children. The desire is there...the time is not. Yet, more poignant than a visage captured on canvas is the portrait of each stage in your child's life in words. When was the last time you "sketched" out his or her current quirks, interests, struggles, and growth? That is a picture no photo or painting can portray, and memory fails to preserve.

There are many ways to do this; I've chosen to simply keep a journal for each child in which I pen letters to them periodically starting at birth. That way, when they are grown, they may read my thoughts and observations of them throughout their childhood. How will you capture your child's portrait?

O is for Order.

My biggest weakness as a child was that I attempted to do things out of order. I had a habit of reading the last page of a Poirot mystery first, then going back for the evidence. I'd daydream and "play" before any work was done. I often relied on my smarts going into a test, then studied and read through the answers after. And many times, I'd expect results without having put in the effort. Lack of order doesn't just produce disorderliness, it forms an attitude of rebellion towards process and procedure. Our God is a God of order. He created the world systematically, regularly gave instructions to His people specifically, and ultimately lived a perfect life on Earth to die according to the Father's plan and order. God has ultimate follow-through. We should too.