Priorities: God first, family second, all other stuff

Jan Allbritton

This weekend Mike and I got to be a part of a family retreat. God placed on Michael and Victoria’s heart to do just that. We all didn’t know exactly what a retreat would look like, but we had one. During the retreat, Michael talked about the importance of putting God first.
He and Victoria were intentionally reinforcing a foundation on Jesus Christ for their children.
Mike and I shared our own testimonies and what we wanted the grandkids to know about the importance of a life based on God. We talked about our childhood. We also made a visit to Nanna and Paw so that they could tell the kids some of their childhood stories.
We had the opportunity to speak blessings over each and every one of the grandkids and their parents.
It meant so much to me to see Michael and Victoria teaching the kids to put God first. They shared some of their own mistakes, and how they and their family can reach out to others for Christ.
We also discussed what our values and character traits were that we wanted for our family. We poured into the grandkids some of the wisdom that we have gleaned from God and life.
None of us are perfect, but we are intentionally teaching the younger ones the ways to a successful Christian life. The family is coming up with a creed, a crest, and ideas for future retreats.
We sat around the dining table and had discussions about traditional families and modern families. We talked about the good in both and how we could make for a better family unit.
We made a point to include every child and got input from them.
Michael said he got the idea from another friend, and he prays that it is an idea that will catch on with other families.
We, as parents and grandparents, must be intentional in teaching our kids about God, a relationship with Jesus, and how to not just survive in today’s world, but to thrive and prosper and be a light in a dark world. If we are not intentional, we can rest assured that the world will be intentional in trying to steal our children.
We have to show by example how to forgive and extend mercy and grace to others around us. We may talk all day about it, but our kids will follow our example. They will walk in our footsteps.
What was so exciting for me this weekend was that I was seeing prayers answered. I was seeing my own son leading his family in the footsteps of Jesus. He, in spite of his imperfect life, was pouring into these children wisdom, peace, love, joy, and mercy that will make them to be world changers.
I heard my grandkids talking about God and saying and doing things that let me know that they walk the walk. My other grandkids also give glory and credit to God for their talents and abilities.
Kids don’t just get it that God is the reason that they have these talents and gifts. They have to be taught and reminded about being humble and giving credit to God. Kids have to have examples in you and me, the parents and grandparents. Kids don’t need perfect examples.
They just need those who are willing to be open and honest and vulnerable and sincere to teach them about integrity and character.
My prayer this week is that our family retreat will encourage others to have a family retreat to reinforce their Christian belief and history.
Please make a date with grandparents and great-grandparents and encourage them to tell their stories. They may just tell a story that you have not heard before. All there will enjoy the time together. It helps to draw family together. After all, isn’t that what is important? God first and family second, then all that other stuff that we call life.

Jan Allbritton is a Diboll resident who teaches at St. Cyprian’s Episcopal School.