Late last night I headed to the grocery to pick up some needed items.  As I was leaving the store’s parking lot, a car came roaring through the lane next to me.  I say “roaring” not because it was speeding, but because the car’s windows were down and the ground was shaking with the emanating “music” – with a text that sounded obscene.  In the dark, the driver appeared to be a high school student.

On the way to the church earlier in the day I saw a quote on the Nazarene Church’s signboard and I drove around the block to get a second look.  I stopped across the street to write it down:

The character of your
children tomorrow
depends on what you put into
hearts today.

The quote flashed in my mind as I left the grocery for home.

That quote and the scene in the parking lot played in my head the rest of the evening.  For several days I’ve been thinking about what I want to express in this first article, and those two pictures seemed to bring the thoughts into focus.

Although the calendar still reads 2016, summer always seems to be the beginning of a new year as plans are being laid for the fall.  To what things will we make a commitment?  Where does our faith fit in to our personal or our family’s prioritized list of activities and obligations?

Some years ago I realized that unless I carved out a specific time each day for devotions, they rarely happened.  Have you found that to be true for you?

Helen Kemp, one of my mentors and the grand Poobah of children’s choirs in this country, penned this recipe for balance in life:

Body, mind,
spirit, voice,
it takes the whole person
to sing and rejoice.

While our children may not get enough exercise, think of the ways we do provide opportunities for that: physical education in school; dance lessons; gymnastics; lessons in karate and Tae Kwan Do; weight lifting; cheerleading; teams, games and competitive meets for many sports and for nearly every age.

The minds of our children are stretched at school, and with enrichment opportunities, on-line classes, field trips, science fairs, and post-secondary options for some high school students.

In what ways are we nurturing our faith, and the faith—the spirit — of our children?  Sunday school?  Worship? Youth group?  Our choirs?  Or are these things of the spirit at the bottom of our lists, partially because we haven’t carved out time for them?

The sensible thing to do in planning meals or molding healthy lives is to strive for balance, making sure the most important things get priority.

What things in our lives have eternal significance — stretch beyond life here?  Where will they be on our to-do list for this fall?  What are we putting into our hearts—and the hearts of our children?