If you were to do a Google search, on walking with kids, you would find lots of health benefits. And, this is so true, but one of the things that walking with my children has taught me is that there is strong spiritual lesson there. It’s a great time to grow and learn with them.
Right before the COVID out break last year, I injured my back. I was stuck in pain and laying around a lot. When I was finally able to get to visit my chiropractor, I made a vow to start walking every single day. My kids began asking to go with me and soon I was taking one or two along.
In the fall, I started taking one child with me every day. It was a special time. So quiet, the leaves started to change, we saw bunnies and squirrels moving about, and we have had some great conversations. These 30 minute walks with them have done a lot for me physically but they have also taught me some things spiritually.
As we walk with our children through daily life with all of its joys, trials, struggles, mundane happenings, and opportunities, we have a wonderful opportunity to shape their future. We have the privilege to teach, correct, observe, and share our own experiences.
Walking with Kids Allows Us to Guide Them Toward New Discoveries
One of my favorite thing about going on a family walk or hike is that we get to make new discoveries. Whether its a perfect spot for a picnic, a beautiful stream, or a weird bug, watching their little faces light up as they grow and learn is priceless.
So it is with our spiritual journey, we have the awesome chance to ask God along with King David, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” (Psalm 119:18)
Through the power of His word and the Holy Spirit, we make new discoveries in scripture and therefore grow in wisdom and understanding. We gain a new perspective on certain aspects of life and how we view our circumstances, situations and people.
It’s our job as parents to steer our children to God’s word and to help them see the joy in new discoveries. Let them see how amazing it is to walk with God and have Him open their eyes to wondrous things in His law. And, what an amazing benefit of parenting it is to be there and watch their transformation.
Walking with Kids Allows Us to Stay in Shape
It is recommended that everyone get at least 30 minutes of exercise in a day for over all physical health. Along with changing my diet, I lost 15 pounds over the year of committing to walk each day. I noticed a couple of my children who were not as active as the others began to move more often.
Just like we need to physically discipline ourselves to be in shape, we also must spiritually discipline ourselves to mature in Christ. Obviously, making a goal to read our Bibles, pray, and share Jesus with others daily is critical.
However, I’ve also noticed that the pursuit of godliness that I want to see in my own children, challenges me even more to flex my spiritual muscles. I want to give them a mom worth imitating.
All the while, as we read Bible stories to our children, correct their behavior, pray with them, encourage them, and teach them to share their faith, we are learning and growing ourselves and we are striving to give them an example to follow.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.Hebrews 12:11
Walking with Kids Allows Us to Grow Closer Together
I mentioned in the introduction that by taking the kids with me one at a time, it was a great time for conversation. I felt like it really grew us closer together. There is something about being away from electronics and distractions but out in nature that really fosters good communication.
How cool is it that as our children become believers and then expand their spiritual knowledge that we also are unified in the Spirit of the Lord?
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.Colossians 3:12-14
There is such a sweet bond in a family that knows and serves God together. We are all striving to be more loving, compassionate, and peaceful. We are all walking together in trying to obey the Lord and encouraging each other on our journeys.
If you are a mom of littles and have a hard time seeing this now, let me encourage you. I have two boys who have reached their teen years. There were many days where I wanted to throw in the towel and wondered if they were truly listening and observing.
But, in the Lord’s faithfulness, they are both disciplining themselves to read their word, share their faith with their friends, and to set an example for their younger sisters. I am so proud to see how the patient, daily walking with them spiritually has grown them.
Walking with Kids Allows Us to Keep Them from Straying
My kids like to veer off of the beaten path. My youngest is super independent and only wants to hold hands if its her idea. And, lots of times, thats a great way to explore and find new discoveries.
Just the same, it can also be dangerous. We live in a busy city so sometimes walking means not getting too close to the road, watching street lights, and dodging bicycles. Even in a remote area, we have to be mindful of rocks, slippery areas, and wild animals.
If we are honest, even as adults, we struggle at times with not letting the world distract us from the importance of our walk with Christ. We have to remind ourselves often that Satan wants us focusing on anything but the Lord and often that is us putting self on the throne. Its a dangerous thing to get off the straight and narrow path.
We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.Hebrews 2:1
In their spiritual journey, we have a huge responsibility of helping our kids not stray from the faith. We have to remind them to “pay careful attention” to what we’ve taught them and what they’ve learned in church. We have to talk often of God’s word and put it in to action in our own lives.
Furthermore, just like watching and warning of dangers on a physical walk, we must look for hazards that can hinder their spiritual walk.
Scriptures That Teach Us to Walk with God
This is not an exhaustive list. There are so many scriptures that speak on our walk with God. These are some that I chose that remind me the importance of teaching our children to walk with God.
- 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. Deuteronomy 6:7
- This verse speaks specifically to us as parents having the responsibility to teach our children God’s word no matter if we are at home or if we are walking on the road. This is the idea of us continually pointing our kids back to the word in daily life.
- Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. Psalm 128:1
- We all want to see our children blessed. Let’s teach them to respect the Lord and to obey his commands.
- Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20
- This one is so important because it reminds us to pay attention to who is influencing our children. Are they hanging with people who pull them toward or away from God?
- He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Malachi 6:8
- The Lord requires that our daily living is full of humility and mercy. Let’s teach them to treat others well.
- Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2
- Walk in the way of love. Let’s remind them daily of God’s love for them and that we need to show it for others.
- So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16
- We can’t be full of the Spirit and full of self at the same time. When we walk in God’s way, it is easier to overcome temptation.
Reaping the Rewards
I am not going to lie to you. When I first started my daily walks, it was hard making myself get up early and get moving. It was not easy when my back was stiff or if we had a busy day. And, when the weather up here in Canada got down in those freezing temps and it started snowing, it was even harder.
But, the rewards have been amazing. I already told you that I lost some weight, but I also got my whole family moving together more. Now days, the kids aren’t excited to walk as they were when COVID caused lockdowns so my husband walks with me most days. We have also implemented family walks.
In addition, my back has not bothered me in over a year. It has in turn motivated me to eat better and add in a little weight training.
The same is true of intentionally walking along side our children spiritually. We can have the assurance that when we are obedient to do our part, God will do His. After all, He only calls us to plant and water the seeds. He brings the growth.
What a joy it is to see that growth and know you played a part!! To see them read their word on their own, to hear them pray, to watch their attitude transition, and to experience them walking in wisdom and truth.
3 John 1:4
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.