Tuesday, March 11, 2014

When, Where, and Why Teachable Moments Occur


Teachable moments.  Are we taking advantage of them?

In order to utilize the opportunity, we must understand what a teachable is, and then where and when these moments occur. 

If you remember from yesterday's post, a teachable moment requires no preparation and these opportunities are unplanned.  Thus, the moment can occur any where, any time. 

Of course moments of discipline and training provide great opportunities for teachable moments.  Before bed is another time as it provides the child an opportunity to process his or her day.  And, many kiddos like to stall bedtime by talking. 

Teachable moments also occur when we are driving to and fro.  Because the kiddos are held captive in car seats, they have nothing to do but think and I have nothing to do but drive and answer their questions. 

Here is an example conversation.
Little Man:  I think I want to be a fireman.
Peanut:  I want to be a doctor.
Mommy:  Those sound like fun things to be, if that is what God wants you to be. 
Little Man:  What does that mean?
And so the conversation goes.  A random comment about a future profession turns into a talk about following God's will.  I've also found that silence in the car leads to some great teachable moments.  Suddenly a child will say a thought that he or she has been pondering which  leads to wonderful conversations. 

But in order to take advantage of these driving moments, the cell phone and DVD play must be off.  How many conversations we miss because of electronics! 

I'm going to case a rabbit trail for a moment.

Whether or not you talk on your cell phone while driving is a personal decision (unless your state has a law against it).  How much your child is entertained by the DVD is a family decision.  Let me share my thoughts. 

I hold the same conviction for using a DVD player in vehicles as the TV in our home.  There is a time and a place, but I would caution using electronics as a prolonged babysitter.  Our children only watch the DVD player when we make long trips.  Even then, we save movies for the last part of the trip.  Our kids have learned to entertain themselves and we play games like "I Spy."  We look for wildlife and enjoy the beauty of God's creation.   

Oh, I get it.  Slipping in a DVD can greatly calm down a child who hates to be buckled in. I just encourage you make electronics an exception instead of an rule.  You will never regret the conversations that occur without them.

Back to the topic at hand. 

As stated in my definition, I believe teachable moments are God-given.  He provides us with the opportunities to train and impress upon our kids. 

Two verses: 
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.  ~~Prov 22:6
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.   ~~Deut 6:4-9
It is our parental responsibility to take advantage of these opportunities.  When we begin to listen, the Holy Spirit will open our eyes to see these moments.  He will also bring to mind Bible stories and verses that we can pull into the conversation with our children.

I believe that there are two enemies of teachable moments:  time and laziness. 

It is much easier to let a moment pass by, or never allow the moment to occur in the first place.  I'll be honest, conversations to this level can be taxing on the brain and sometimes require a large chunk of time.  But, I am constantly reminded of how I need to be intentional with the time I have been given with my little ones.
This series isn't over.  In the next few days, I am going to share more examples of teachable moments along with tips and tools to help you maximize the opportunity. 

Remember that teachable moments can occur any where and any time.  All we have to do is look for them, listen to the Holy Spirit's prompting, and take the time to develop the moment. 

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The Our Out-of-Sync Life blog focuses on encouraging women to deepen their spiritual life, simplify daily tasks, and impress Jesus on the children around them.