This is a fun and easy way to do devotions as a family. It is a combination of this post on Fruit of the Spirit Trees and something I heard from Deb Weakly (a Mom Heart Leader)— while attending Sally Clarkson’s Mom Heart Leadership Intensive a couple of summers ago. Deb shared with us her idea to put devotions or verses in a jar on the table. When you are sitting down as a family for a meal you can pull one out and discuss it. This is a great way to get dads involved and if you do the prep — the dads can easily step in to facilitate. I know my husband appreciates when I prepare such things— he wants to do devotions with our kids but works hard and doesn’t have the time that I do to plan them.
So, to get it all ready— I stuck some branches in a vase— to be our “tree”. Then I made little paper fruits and tied strings onto them so that they could be hung on the tree. I printed and cut out a list of verses related to the fruits of the Spirit and put them in a jar. The tree and jar of verses were placed on our table.
Each night at dinner the kids would pull a verse out of the jar. We would discuss what it means and how that fruit plays out in our lives. My kids are little, so after describing one of the traits— like kindness, we would ask them questions like, “so when you grab a toy out of your sister’s hand, is that being kind? What would be a kind way to ask for the toy? How about when you help your sister get her shoes on, is that being kind?” We gave them both negative and positive examples. You can change the scenarios to fit the ages of your kids. We always talk about how we can’t make these good choices without God’s help because we all have sin in our hearts, that He forgives us when we do make mistakes, and that he wants to help us do better next time… so that we are teaching them the gospel instead of moralistic legalism.
In the days following, when I saw the kids exhibit any of the fruits of the Spirit, I let them hang a fruit on the tree. They loved it and it was a great way to train them in what is good. (I’ve found that training works best when you don’t wait until the middle of a meltdown to discuss whether something is right or wrong! It needs to be a part of our normal conversation throughout each day!)
Since we’ve finished our fruit of the Spirit devotions, we are now using Clay Clarkson’s devotional for families— Our 24 Family Ways. I photo-copied the “ways” (these are like household rules or norms— such as: we love, encourage, forgive, and serve one another) with their related verses and stuck them in the jar and we will be discussing these at dinnertime for a while.
What are some ways that you do family devotions? I would love to hear!