Hey all, today you might notice a little different format of the Family Matters devotional. That’s because I want to give you all some insight into the development of these devos, and let you know what you can look forward to for the next year.
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 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.
The purpose of Family Matters is to encourage families and anyone who has the opportunity to invest in the precious life of kids. We are committed to always having scripture as our banner. It holds us to truth and keeps us from swaying too far toward our own opinions. T Bar M counts it a tremendous responsibility and privilege to come alongside our camp family in the day-to-day trenches of pointing kids toward Christ.
Have you ever wondered how we come up with the topics of the devotionals each week? I would love to share with you exactly how that’s done! During training camp in May we survey our overnight staff of about 300 college students. Following are the questions and the top five responses to each.
- Question: What are you thankful your parents taught you growing up?
Top Five Responses: Respect, Manners, Work-ethic, Responsibility, Selflessness
- Question: What are you thankful your parents provided for you growing up?
Top Five Responses: Safe home, Support, Education, Love, Opportunity to travel
- Question: What are you thankful your parents did with you growing up?
Top Five Responses: Had fun/played, Quality-time, Support, Attended church, one on one time together
- Question: What issues have you faced in college that you WISH you would have been equipped for? (As a parent I don’t want all of this responsibility to fall on me, BUT I still want to learn from these!)
Top Three Responses: Time and money management, healthy study habits, and conflict resolution
Four-Way Tie Responses: Loneliness (this is the first time in 8-10 years of doing this that I’ve seen loneliness surface), finding community, adulting (taxes, menu planning, laundry, handiwork, bill paying, etc.), and how to intentionally love others who are different in belief, social class, and/or race
When I get to read these responses I feel so honored! It’s like a teacher showing the test questions before giving the test! I mean, these college kids who have the character enough to completely give of themselves, pursuing Christ and investing in others while sweating, being stretched and challenged in all kinds of ways are laying out there some of what God used to get them to this point! I want to help my kids get to this point – whether that’s serving at camp or not – I want them to serve God!
Then I quickly think – I need to share this with my Mom friends. I have in years past gotten a group of friends together for us to look at the raw results – bad hand writing, unorganized, several things repeated. Then we talk through, “How’re we doing on this path of raising our kids to know and love God? Where do we need to tighten up? Loosen up? Or completely shift gears?”
This year it has hit me that if I want to share it with them why would I not share the same thing with you all? And by you all I mean the over-11K inboxes Family Matters is delivered to weekly and about 2,500 of you read it consistently! That’s a lot of folks aiming to invest well in some knuckle-head kiddos!
You’ll get the benefit of hearing from our God-fearing staff throughout this next year to spur us on toward love and good deeds in the areas previously mentioned (and more). Attached you’ll find the condensed version of the results in word clouds with the larger words representing the highest frequency responses for those who grasp things in a picture better.
By the grace of God may we carry on loving the LORD with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength as we impress God’s commandments on our children in our day to day living.