After reading the Karl and Beth Kurz post on family devotions for families with college students at different campuses, my friends Dave and Carol Sinclair told me how they continue to stay connected with their kids who are away at college. Again, another great idea that I thought might be helpful to you. Here is the story in their own words.
Text Messages from the Heart
Staying connected with our 2 oldest kids while they’re 500 miles away at Texas Tech has been a challenge and next year we’ll experience that challenge just a little more as our last one leaves the nest for Texas A&M. For the past two years I’ve learned that text messaging is one of the easiest ways to remain in touch until that phone call comes in. For whatever reason, they just seemed to respond quicker to text messages. I guess it’s just one of their languages that if you want to be an effective communicator, then you must learn to speak it.
With all of the different messages and opportunities that kids face these days at college, I felt led this past fall to begin sending each of my kids and some of their friends a biblical truth through a weekly text message. I call it “Text Messages from the Heart”. The concept is simple and originates from Isaiah 55:10-11. A verse or passage is selected (sometimes based on what we hear from them as a struggle) and one or two questions challenging them to action conclude the message. The timing of the text is targeted for the weekend so that it can be on their minds for the upcoming week. The verse or passage is almost always fully typed out and any corresponding message is as short as possible, so they’ll be encouraged to read it. I also keep the information on an Excel spreadsheet to make certain I avoid repeating verses or messages (I’m reminded that parents do occasionally repeat themselves). The spreadsheet also helps me to track subjects such as “relationships” and “Godly living”. As a final follow-up I also send the text in a separate message to the parents of the other kids on the list, so that they can be prayerful over the message.
The feedback from our kids and their friends has been good. Sometimes it’s just a simple thank you or as in the case this past weekend one of my kids indicated that they felt that this week’s message really spoke to them. My youngest looks forward to the message each week and wonders what’s wrong with me if I’m a day or two late. Make no mistake about it, this is a huge challenge for me as I search the scriptures and the Lord’s leading each week for a key message. While it is a challenge, it has been very rewarding as the unintended consequence has been that Carol and I are challenged by the messages as well.
David and Carol Sinclair
As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.