We moved into the house we now call home nine years ago. At the time, my husband and I had a one-year-old and a two and half-year-old. But I have always been a dreamer, and I dreamed of a big family and walking my kids to school. So I would only look at homes that had an elementary school within walking distance (and without crossing any major roads), add in our meager budget, and our choices were limited. It took us over two years of looking before we found just the right home.
The kid’s school is precisely .33 miles from our home, easy walking distance, all in our neighborhood. The first day of school is really something to see. It is like a tidal wave of eager young children, crying momma’s, and proud daddy’s all pouring out of their homes, cameras, and backpacks in tow, as they walk the kids to school. Shouts of greetings, laughter, and giggles echo throughout the neighborhood.
Soon after that, however, reality sets in. Schedules get busy, the weather gets cold, and people pile in their cars to drive .33 miles to school. There are no more shouts of greeting. Now there are more tears than giggles, as momma’s yell at the kids to hurry up, kids complain about being tired and daddy’s head off to work instead of walking their kids to school. It’s understandable. This is life. This is reality.
I, who CHOSE where to buy a house solely on being able to walk my children to school, drive more often than I walk. Until last month.
Our school went under construction last month. It is absolutely chaotic down there between construction vehicles, loss of parking, and a change in the traffic pattern. It is far easier to walk than it is to try to drive in the mess. So once again, I walk my kids to and from school. Considering one of the three is in half-day kindergarten, I log 2 miles a day walking to and from school. Not bad exercise. But that is not the real benefit.
The real benefit, the true benefit, the far more important benefit of walking along the road with my kids, is the conversations we have. It turns out the author of Deuteronomy was right (no big surprise there). There are a lot of things in this world we need to intentionally talk to our children about. There are many times we need to intentionally listen to our children, and walking along the road is the perfect time to do both. There are no distractions when you are walking with your children, no television screen, no radio, no “hang on, Mommy’s concentrating on the road!”. There is just you… and them… and all the time it takes until you get home.
A friend of mine recently shared with me some of the things she intentionally talks about with her children. She very intentionally tells her children of the times God has put her just where she needs to be. How God put her right where she needed to be to meet their daddy, how God steered her to the college she should go to, and how God moved her from one school to another when she was young, and that is where she met her very best friend.
She very intentionally shares her favorite Bible verses with her children and the reason those verses are so special to her; that she will always love 1 Corinthians 13 because it was read at her wedding; how Isaiah 40:31 and Hebrews 12:1 got her through her first marathon; how she prayed Psalm 139 over each one of them as they grew inside her.
And lastly, she very intentionally serves with her children. They talk about the needs they see around them, the things they can do to meet those needs, and ways that they can serve others.
The Bible is clear, we are to impress our faith upon our children. We are to teach them the commands of the Lord. We are to tell them who Christ is and what He did for them. We are to share with them what God has done through us and in us. And there is no better place or time to do this then when you are walking along the road.