Is there a magic formula which will make kids turn out right 100% of the time? If I could find a way to guarantee this, I would be a very wealthy person. All I would have to do is put it in a pill and start marketing it by the bottle. I can hear the infomercial now: “Do you want great kids — model citizens in a world full of me-first, fit-pitching, irresponsible youngsters? Have your kids try CharaCure, the remarkable, bad-mood-busting, character-building wonder-drug formulated just for kids! For a limited time, CharaCure is available in 4 easy payments of $9.95. . . .”

Everyone wants a quick fix to the dilemma of child training. One of my mentors, whose children unfortunately did not serve the Lord as adults, wistfully told me taking his children to see a professional basketball game would have made the difference in their spiritual lives. I told him the real reason his kids didn’t serve the Lord was because he didn’t include them in his activities. There is no substitute for time spent with our children. This is vital to their social, emotional, and spiritual development. Gifts may thrill and pills may chill, but nothing fills their need for love like our time.

Are you busy? Include your kids in your activities. Dads, you can turn shoveling the driveway into an opportunity to build your relationship with your kids and have a little fun. Moms, do you have errands to run? Take your children along, and let them visit one of their favorite stores or treat them to a cheap lunch date. Maybe you have church or school activities which fill much of your time. Find something your kids can help you with, and work on the project together. If your kids are not old enough to help you, then set aside time in your schedule to be with them: Watch a video together. Read a book. Play a game. These are perfect opportunities to teach your children valuable life lessons which will be ingrained in them as they grow up. That’s what successful parenting is all about.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.