Fathers, Bring Them Up: A Devotional
But even then, these are toddlers we're talking about. So there's lot of energy.
Also...know that I'm certainly not saying in any way that this is the way to bring your children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. There are so many ways to do this; and this is just one of them. And in reality, this is only a part of it (as it really is something done all throughout the day, each and every day - Deut. 6:4-7). And, yes, while I'm a huge proponent of homeschooling; this is something (or something similar) that can be done, even when not homeschooling your children (obviously with some scheduling exceptions).
But without further ado...here is our schedule (and again, that term is used lightly):
Monday - Friday
6:30a - Wake up the girls and get them ready for the day (brush teeth, change to play clothes, etc.)
6:45a - Read Scripture* with girls and have prayer time with them
7:15a - Get ready/leave for work
5-6p - Dinner with family; Scripture memory together*
7-7:30p - Get girls ready for bed (brush teeth, change into PJs, etc.)
7:30-8:15p - Systematic theology/devotional* (and books of their choice as well), prayer, and song
Instead of reading through Scripture in the morning, I'll recite Psalm 1 for them, with the future plans that later it will be with them - working our way through other passages of similar length.
Then we do a lesson of Church History.*
As with Saturday, instead of reading through Scripture in the morning, I'll recite Psalm 1 for them, with the future plans that later it will be with them - working our way through other passages of similar length.
And then we'll do a lesson on missions* working our way through Operation World.
Here is where I further comment on all the *'s.
Scripture memory time we do at dinner is actually memorizing word-for-word from the "adult" version of Scripture (in our case, the ESV). Dinner seems to be the best time for all of us to do this together. I'll read the verse aloud three times; and then we'll all repeat it as a family. The pace seems to be we'll memorize one verse of Scripture every one to two weeks. That may not seem like a lot, but it includes our 2 1/2 year old; and I think it brings the family together in God's Word. (This is not a hands-down endorsement of the Charlotte Mason curriculum or method of education; but I have found their free list of printable index cards Scripture verses to be very helpful).
I'm sure when they're a little older we'll work through the works of R.C. Sproul for children and the book The Ology. But like I said, there's no shortage of good material for kids.
Regarding our singing of a hymn together, that's another story. At least for me, it's been hard to find a good recording of hymns being sung to which we can sing along. Now, why do we need a recording to sing along? It's certainly not necessary; but for us, I've found it helps. I didn't grow up learning the classic hymns, and I think it's greatly beneficial for our girls to know them - even from a young age. But I can hardly lead the singing when I don't know them myself. So I've looked for recordings. The problem is that in order for the kids to "feel" the music enough to sing along, they're most captured by that vibe when they hear the voice of other children.
I will mention, not all 80 "Songs and Hymns" are actual hymns. But there are enough to get us started, as it takes the girls (and myself) a while to learn them. The goal is to sing the same hymn each night until we have it memorized and can sing it ourselves without accompaniment.
And now we've arrived at Sundays. We try to keep a focus on our missionary friends on Sundays with our prayer time. And in the morning devotions we'll give a special attention to a new people group that we'll learn about through the book, Operation World. We'll read about a country/people group, and I'll point it out on the map for them. Then we'll say our prayer for that group and our missionary friends in various parts of the world.
Yes, I realize it will take us a while to get through Operation World, but it helps us to give them a good perspective on the Great Commission and the vastness of God's Kingdom in this world as it comes (Mt. 6:10; cf. Mt. 28:18-20, Ps. 2:8; Isa. 11:9).
Remember, of course, this is a flexible schedule to us. If we get back late from a Saturday evening social event, I'm not going to keep our overly-exhausted girls awake with a church history lesson.
At the same time, this is not all there is - as I see it - in bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. From the people we interact with to the things we do throughout the day, in God's grace my goal is to bring all that they observe and experience back to the person and work of Christ (Col. 1:16-17; Eph. 1:9-10).
This includes what I like to call Worldview Movie Nights, where we enjoy the entertainment of Pixar and other companies; but pause it throughout to discuss what's going on in the movie and what God's Word has to say about it.
That's our "schedule" anyway; and I hope in some small way it might be helpful to some other fathers out there. I pray we all take our duty as fathers seriously (Eph. 6:4), and, by His grace (Col. 1:29), bring them up to love Him and their neighbors (Lk. 10:27) through the gospel of Christ (1 Jn. 4:19).