As the school year gets ready to kick off, it can be daunting to figure out how you’re going to fit it all in, not the least of which is when on earth you’re supposed to fit in conversations about faith and character building with your kids. That’s why you’ll want to listen to this special episode of The AllMomDoes Podcast, because Julie has a new way for you to think about how to use a timeslot you already have to make an eternal impact on your kids.
I was driving one of my kids back from an event that we’d had, they were part of a team and there was a luncheon at a holiday season, and we were making our way back in the Austin traffic back to the house on a really busy weekend. And of course this was the moment that this kid chose to ask me something, a really big question that had been on their heart. That question was, “Hey Mom, where do babies come from?” And that was the moment that I had to dive in, explain all the things, try to make it in the kind of language and explanation that was going to make sense to this kid as we’re driving and sitting in traffic and all the things. And we’ve always chosen to talk with our kids, as soon as they start asking questions, we jump in, we talk about it, and sometimes that means they’ve been a little bit younger than other kids, maybe in their particular community and group of friends.
And so as I wrapped up this explanation, I looked in the rear view mirror at my child. Her huge blue eyes were now incredibly enormous as she was staring at me as I had regaled her with all of this information. And I said, “Now listen, every family gets to make the decision about when they want to talk about this with their kids. So you need to hold this information that you and I have talked about. You are fine to talk any more you want to with me about it or with your dad. You can ask any questions you want, but we need to respect that other parents for other kids, they need to have their right to have this conversation with their kids.” And my daughter looked at me and she said, “Oh, don’t worry, mom. My friends would never believe this.”
I’m Julie Lyles Carr, you’re listening to the AllMomDoes Podcast, part of the Purposely Podcast Network. I just have to tell you, there were so many things in my head that I thought would be the environment, the scenario when certain important conversations and disclosures of the heart, and other important moments that you want to have with your spouse or with your kids. I, in my head, always pictured it happening by say, a beautiful fireplace in a really cozy and clean family room, or maybe sitting in the child’s bedroom, whereas I’m gently tucking them into bed in a darling perfectly matched, perfectly decorated kid’s room. I don’t know, something like that. And yet I have to tell you, more often than not, some of the most important conversations that I’ve had with my kids have been like on the fly. And frankly, I’ve probably spent too much time trying to create these moments thinking about when I was going to sit them down and have these more formal conversations.
My kids often have absolutely beaten me to the punch, asking me all kinds of things like the question my daughter asked that I was telling you about before to “Mom, what’s your biggest regret in life?” Or “Was dad your first boyfriend?” Or “What do you think about this situation that’s happening over here?” Or “How do you understand that God does fill in the blank?” Those kinds of things seem to happen in moments that are not crafted, curated, well decorated or all that tidy. And so many of those moments in reality have often been in the drive-through line, or pushing a cart through the grocery store, or when I’m making the run to the soccer practice, or the dance class and we’re stuck in traffic, or driving through the neighborhood. It’s amazing to me how often the opportunity for those conversations has happened in just little small moments, not in moments that we’re supposed to have these big magnitudes around them. Just those daily things that we do every day.
So often that has been the time when a child has asked me something really important, or when my husband and I have had a conversation about something that ends up pivoting a direction that we’re taking. It’s wild to me that really when I’ve tried to create almost like a Treaty of Versailles kind of moment, it’s happened far more often in the Starbucks line when I didn’t see it coming, that some of these really important conversations, the kind of minutes that really matter in life, that that’s when they’ve happened.
Now it does point out to me the wisdom of Deuteronomy 6:7, and this is taken from the message version. “Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street, talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. Inscribe them on the doorpost of your homes and your city gates.”
But check out this line that talks about, “Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street.” That makes me think about the commute time, the moments that we’re getting ready to leave the house. Those little moments that I don’t always necessarily see this huge value in are actually the moments that can be some of the most valuable when it comes to our kids, when it comes to our marriages, when it comes to our relationships, making sure that we are connected and we’re sharing the very things that make up the values that we live by.
So I wanted to talk to you about what it means to make minutes matter. And again, I confessed to you earlier that I’ve probably spent too much time trying to create environments for moments. And believe me, I love when something comes together and yes, there is that conversation by a cozy fire and the snacks are lovely and the tea is hot and dah, dah, dah, dah. That’s all great, but that is not how I usually live my life. I mean for so many of us who are moms who are running all over the place and trying to get work done and trying to conquer the errand list and trying to get the kids to the different practices and all that kind of stuff, if I waited to have some of these most important conversations until I had curated the moment to be exactly poetic, exactly Instagram worthy. Well then frankly they’d probably not happen.
And so what do we do in our busy busy lives, particularly as we’re looking at summer winding up and school getting ready to start and we know that our time’s going to be even more compressed, what do we do about these minutes that we have where we have a pause? Yeah, we’re running to somewhere or we’re loading the dishwasher together or whatever we’re doing, but we have a little bit of a pause in which we could really make those minutes, those little 3, 4, 5 minutes really matter eternally?
Because I can tell you now with several of my kids launched into adulthood and their time of living in our home having wrapped up, I’m just kind of floored really at how many of those little minutes, those little times of being in the car, those little times of looking for the soccer gear, those little moments where we were working on a chore together, how important in the context of what my kids remember about things that they feel was wisdom they received from our house or things that they thought, I don’t know if I agree with that. Maybe I need to talk about that some more with my mom. Or those times they made a really important confession. There are so many little moments like that that they refer back to. And so now I can see with even greater clarity how critical it is to make those kind of minutes matter. So how do we go about that?
Well, I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I can see at least three things that really bubble up for me as truth in terms of the experiences I’ve had. I would say first of all, it is about being intentional with our minutes, but it might be in a different way than you think. So it’s intentionality, but probably in a different way than you might think. Ruth Bell Graham, the wife of Billy Graham said that she had a little thing that she did in terms of making minutes matter, and this is something that she wrote several years ago. She said, “Cultivate the habit of keeping your Bible open somewhere in the house. On my Bible study desk, I have every translation I can get my hands on plus a concordance, a Bible dictionary, and a few good devotional books. And I always keep a little notebook open beside my Bible so that as the Lord teaches me lessons, I can take notes.”
Well, that’s a little moment to see your mom or dad’s Bible open on the dining table, turn to a certain passage. It’s a little moment to see that Bible on your parents’ nightstand or to see it on the coffee table or a little note they’ve written to themselves about something that they noticed in scripture that day. But that little moment, when you’re not even actually saying anything directly to your kid, those little moments add up to the place that your child may look back and say, “You know what? Not saying my mom and dad were perfect or had a perfect faith walk or anything else, but there were so many moments where I caught them being in the word, listening to worship music, praying, having time with God.” Those are moments that I tend to remember as well with my mom and dad.
Now, do I have memories of sitting through church services with my parents? Yes, I do, and those are some sweet moments, but I will tell you, I only remember them as a flicker, sitting on the pew next to my parents, wondering when the service was going to be over, being a little bored, sometimes getting in trouble. There was a little bag that my mom would keep inside of her purse and she would let me pull that out. It had a few tiny little toys in it, and the only time we got to see those toys was at church. And I can remember with my brothers playing with some of those. Those are some of the little moments I remember from being at church. But I will tell you the times that I noticed that my parents were looking at a piece of scripture, the times that I noticed a Bible being out, the times that I noticed things like that, that stuck. That is something that has stayed with me, and it was just a moment of noticing that. But wow, was it powerful?
So in that being intentional, yeah, sometimes it’s not going to be in the perfect setting, but it is intentionality with the minutes that we have. I would say that’s the same thing that when you are with your kids and you are going to the practice, or you are in the school line and you’re getting ready for drop off, what are you listening to? How are you utilizing that time? Are you on the phone talking to someone or are you chatting with your kids? Are you listening to music but it’s so loud that there can’t really be a conversation? Or are your kids nose down in screens and you are not taking those minutes to have a little bit of time to chat?
That intentionality means paying attention to the minutes that you do have. And that leads me to the second thing that I was thinking about. Use the time you already have. When I look at how packed our days have been, when I look at the juggling of work, and household responsibilities, and kids, and school, and homework, and all of the stuff, if someone had said to me in those particularly busy seasons when all the kids were still living at home, if someone had said to me, “Now you need to set time aside to make sure that you are doing this X, Y, Z thing to fill in the blanks of faith for your kids. Make sure you’re having these kind of conversations and set aside 45 minutes a day for a family devotional time and on and on.”
In theory, I would’ve said, “You know what? That really sounds like it could be a beautiful thing.” In practice, honestly, I would’ve failed over and over and over again because we were scheduled so tightly. And yeah, I was the one driving the schedule, I’m raising my hand, but we were scheduled so tightly and then even in those gaps and spaces that might be in the schedule, it seemed like there was always something urgent that really needed to be done. Somebody had forgotten that they needed to have their soccer uniform washed, someone forgot their lunch, somebody needed extra help on an assignment that had been made in a class, and that was something that I wasn’t able to have on the calendar when the day began. It was something that just emerged throughout the course of the day. Many times, those little margins of time that we have get filled so fast, and so even if we have great intention to be talking with our kids about spiritual matters, to be leading our kids in a more succinct way toward their relationship with God, it can get crowded out very quickly.
So sure, if you want to make a resolution to start creating a piece of time during the day, that is going to be the time, I think that’s amazing. But what about if you started looking at the time you already have, using the time you already have, just like Deuteronomy 6 talks about when you’re walking, when you’re chatting, when you’re working alongside each other. When we make God a part of our daily lives, those moments in the car, those moments walking to the mailbox. When we make that our activities, our routines, our commutes, our chores from cleaning up the kitchen, not these curated moments. But when we bring God into those moments that we’re having all the time, then it truly makes him part of everything. And how awesome is that for our kids to get to experience that? How awesome is that when they realize that they can just be having conversation about God and it doesn’t have to be some kind of formal thing? That it can happen right as we’re pulling into the parking lot at the soccer practice?
We do have these little moments of time. Maybe it’s when you’re sitting with your kids when they’re doing their evening bath, maybe it is when you are tucking them in, those moments of time you already have. What if you got intentional about that time? I think that can be really exceptional.
Now, one of my kids, and you’ve heard from her before, my daughter Mercy, and I’ll have Rebecca link the episode where Mercy came on and talked about her experience with cerebral palsy and what that has been like to walk through life being differently abled in that way. My daughter Mercy is what I would call one of the cruise directors of our family because Mercy loves to do something that we’ve come to call Chat Pack. Now, there may be a brand name of this, I’m not quite sure, but what it means in our family, what Chat Pack means is we’ve collected over the years a series of conversation starter decks, and they’re just cards that you can pull out and there are a couple of books you can pull out and we get them from a variety of different places. And what you’re able to do is you ask each family member at dinner a question and they respond to a question and sometimes the questions are funny and sometimes they’re really poignant and sometimes they’re quite deep.
But what I do know for sure is that every time we do one of these, something really interesting emerges. A fact about one of the family members I didn’t know, or a preference they have, or some kind of funny question that we all get tickled about and we all perceive it a different way and we’re answering it in weird ways. And so it’s usually Mercy who will go, “Chat Pack.” And she’ll go and find one of these resources and pull it out and start asking us questions around the Chat Pack.
Well, that’s another one of those moments in time that if you have a resource you can use to generate this conversation, that can really help you be intentional as we talked about in the first point that I made, being intentional. It can help us be intentional in two, the time that we already have, that time around the dinner table, that time in the car. Don’t miss the power of having that kind of a resource, of a Chat Pack kind of a resource because it really can help build the conversation for you. It can take some of the pressure off of you having to try to generate making that minute matter and allowing a couple of minutes to unfold that you’re all experiencing together, you’re all having a chance to respond to and it can really help you build the conversation.
I love Rebecca. She’s the one who puts together the show notes each week and she and I have been working together on this podcast. We are getting ready to wrap up season six and head into season seven. Hard to believe. So we’ve been working together a long time on that. She and I were working together even before then when I was doing some writing for the AllMomDoes blog, and for some of the content that I’ve done for on air stuff. So Rebecca and I have been together a long time. We love taking a snapshot of where our lives are at, resources that we could use, ideas we have, things we’re thinking about. And she called me several months ago and said, “Okay, I’m really wanting to think through some more things that we can help get into parents’ hands that could be of help.”
And we came up with some different thoughts and different ideas and different concepts and where we finally landed, it was truly one of the first ideas that popped up was how can we help resource parents in the minutes they have in time that they’re already taking, like going to school drop off, like sitting in the school pickup line, like sitting at the soccer practice parking lot while one kid’s practicing and two kids are still in the car? What could we give parents in that moment that would help them resource and make those minutes matter, those minutes they already have, those minutes that are built in so frequently into our days? How could we help them make those minutes matter even more? And that’s where this idea was born.
We are launching a new podcast. It’s short, it’s just going to be a handful of minutes, like 3, 4, 5 minutes, and you listen to it once a week at the beginning of the week with your kids. And it is developed specifically so that whether your kids are in early elementary school or you’ve got kids in high school, this is a resource that we have put together in such a way that that little short podcast is truly easily accessible for many grade levels and understandings. You listen to the podcast when it first comes out in the week and what you’re going to find on that short little podcast is a connection of a Bible story to something that your child is likely to experience.
So maybe for that week it’s something about friendship, maybe for that week, it’s something about new routines as school is kicking off, maybe it’s about integrity and making sure that even if you were tempted to cheat on a test that you wouldn’t do that, that you would take the integrity filled way. It’s a series of concepts and character building moments for you and your kids that helps direct you to walking more closely with Jesus. So you listen to the podcast and then over the course of the week, you’ll get a prompt question that’s sent to you, you’ll get a fun trivia question that will have been covered in the podcast, you’ll get a memory verse and then you’ll also get some discussion questions. And those are sent to you via a text when you sign up to receive this information for the podcast.
What is so fun about this at this point is when you take something that’s a concept that you think could be helpful, but you hope that it would be cool, but you’ve just got to kind of play with it and see. Well, as we have been in the process of producing this podcast, oh wow, the whole team, we’ve just gotten more and more excited because we really feel like this is going to be an amazing resource, kind of that Chat Pack feel, a way to help you enter into conversation, into deeper conversation, and using time you already have in a way that’s very targeted and yet doesn’t have to be complicated.
We’ve tried to make this as simple as possible. So God On The Go, this new podcast that takes just a tiny amount of time, just like 3, 4, 5 minutes. It begins on August 14th. So what you can do is you can text the word if you’re in the US, text the word go. That’s G-O, and this is for US listeners, text the word go to 89419. So text go to 89419. Or if you’re in Canada, okay, so we know we have Canadian listeners as well, then you’re going to text God On The Go. So all those four words, God On The Go to 866-729-1065. That’s God On The Go to 866-729-1065. And listen, if you’re listening to this in the car and I don’t want you writing anything down, we’ll put this in the show notes for you so you can go back into this episode, go to the show notes and we’ll have that information for you there.
We’re kicking off on August 14th, so you can listen to that podcast, that short podcast at the beginning of that week. And then when you have texted into us, either go to 89419 or God On The Go to the phone number that I provided, you are going to get a little prompt that’ll give you the memory verse one day, that’ll give you discussion questions one day, it’ll give you a little trivia or history to explore one day, and to also give you those conversation questions to help you make those minutes matter.
So again, to recap, this is a tool we’re super excited about. This is a way, just a small way and yet a way that can have profound impact to help you use the time you have to speak into your kids’ lives to really help fulfill that call from Deuteronomy Six. It’s a short teaching style podcast made for multi-age. It’s going to be released each Sunday evening. So you can either do it on Sunday evening or if you want to hit play when you hit the road on Monday morning with your kids, you can do that. You’re going to listen to the teaching and then throughout the week, you can reflect on the memory verse, you can share the prayer prompts, you can laugh over fun facts, you’re going to ask conversation starters about the teaching. All of that is designed to help your kids apply these truths to their daily life. We absolutely built this with your family in mind and the seasons that you’re in. This is a tool to help you and we’re just so honored and excited to be able to bring this to you.
So I want to encourage you, be sure and go text, do all the things that we talked about. I want you to be on board and ready to go when we launch, and I’m just so honored to be able to come alongside you in this way, provide this real time tool. I know as I watch the year click by, I feel like time’s just going faster and faster and the schedules just keep getting busier. I don’t want to miss the most important moments. And yes, there are some beautiful moments out there to be had graduations and weddings and that baby’s first step and all of those things that are truly these amazing moments. But guess what? All of these other moments, all of these moments that we take to get us to the places we need to go or to clean up the mess that needs to be cleaned up or just those little mundane moments, some of those mundane moments can be the minutes that matter the most. And so I hope this is a tool that helps you make those minutes matter.
Please be sure and share this with someone who you think could really benefit from listening to this. Please be sure and share God On The Go as well because we just want to make sure that we get this tool into parents’ hands today. Check out AllMomDoes and AllMomDoes does on the socials and allmomdoes.com. It’s such a great community for you to be a part of. I love when you connect with me. I’m Julie Lyles Carr, Instagram and all the places, and I just love it when you come over and say hi, and we’re able to interact in that way and I’ll see you next time on the AllMomDoes Podcast.