Monday, April 26, 2010

What do you want your kids to be?

What are your goals in raising your children?
  • for them to be smart? like Harvard-bound kind of smart?
  • or a world-class athlete?
  • or a talented musician? artist?
  • to get a great job and make a lot of money someday?
  • to marry well and have cute kids?
  • to be happy?
  • to know the Bible so well they can quote large portions of the book of Numbers?
  • or is it to love Jesus, give their lives to Him, seek to follow Him, obey His course for their lives, trust Him, lean on Him in times of trouble, do hard and self-sacrificing things if it furthers His kingdom and be His lights in the dark parts of this world?
Many Christians would answer the last but what are they doing to get their kids there?

I think as a Christian parent in today's world it is easy to fall into a few traps while raising our kids.

The first I see is the success trap, believing that our kids have to be the best -- the best athlete, student, musician, whatever it is, just the best. So, we over-emphasize these things. Where in the Bible does it say that should be a priority?

The next trap I see is the over-sheltering. The kids who only have Christian friends. The ones who have the Bible fed to them often, but never get a chance to put their faith into action. The ones who know in almost a snobby sort of way that they are not "of the world" yet they are surely not in it either. Their faith doesn't grow from head knowledge to heart knowledge because they are not allowed to walk in it.

The other trap I see is allowing the kids to be too much of the world. The kids that are from "Christian families" but live lives that don't look any different than the mainstream world. Church is skipped if there is a social or sporting event that conflicts. Children are allowed to disrespect authority and get away with it. All kinds of bad language and manner of dress are allowed. Being popular, happy, and comfortable seem to be higher priorities than doing what the Bible commands.

Parenting for that last goal is a tough road for sure. I think a good first step is to love Jesus, give your life to Him, seek to follow Him, obey His course for your life, trust Him, lean on Him in times of trouble, do hard and self-sacrificing things if it furthers His kingdom and be His lights in the dark parts of this world YOURSELF and let your children see it day in and day out.

I certainly don't have all the answers or claim to be doing it all right. My husband and I are leaning heavily on the best parenting manual ever, the Bible.



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12 comments:

  1. Leading by example. You have it right.

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  2. Amen! Praise God for giving us this manual. My husband and I were just talking last night about whether we thought our oldest would one day by a well-adjusted adult as we increasingly note his "differences" and his "unique" personality. My take was/is that God has gifted him with some little quirks and, if we do our best to seek God's guidance and train him (and our othter children) up with happy, God-seeking hearts, God will perfect our parenting imperfections and will also help us see each of our children through positive, proactive lenses. Thank you for the reminders you wrote in your post about all this and about relying on the Bible as the best manual.

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  3. This was such a good post. And I think you have hit the nail right on the head. At the end of the day you have to find the right road and walk the right line. It is hard sometimes to stay on the line. Keeping your eyes on Him is really the only way to do it. Being "in the world" and yet "not of it" is hard for adults let alone kids and the sooner they learn to live this way the better. One thing I tried and tried to emphasize (besides the wonderful things you mentioned) was a REAL compassion for those around them. Everyone has got a story. To honestly try to love as He does. Not easy. Thanks for all this today, I really appreciate these kind of posts. Have a good day! HUGS

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  4. Let the church say Amen!!!!

    It's all a matter of balance. The longer I reflect on living Christianity, the more convinced I am that God is in the middle. I'm writing an article on overparenting right now that is confirming this philosophy, and it's the basic topic of the way we celebrate Advent, which will be coming out in a book this summer too. It's easier to hug the fringes, the extremes: to separate from the world entirely or to succomb to it entirely, b/c it doesn't require keeping a balance; you have a boundary to lean on. But I truly believe that God is in the middle.

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  5. This is beautifully and sucinctly written. You echo many of my feelings about the fine line we walk as Christian parents, and maybe especially as Christian homeschooling parents. I have tried to give my chldren a real balance and, though I still have challenges, my daughter is emerging (at 19) as a real leader for Christian values at her non-Christian university. My son, at 15, wants to follow suit and they are both IN the world and regular kids but they are not OF it. You can detect the difference in their attitudes and hearts, not just in their dress and prejudices.

    I'm currently working on a post like this for a future date. It is a HUGE pet peeve. THANKS FOR THIS!

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  6. Lord, give us all light! Thank you for writing this.

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  7. Excellent post, and so true. Parenting is hard, and there are many traps. My basic wish is for my kids to be kind, as He calls us to be. Each day is chance to show them the path, by walking it ourselves. I pray that my husband and I are doing it right and doing it enough.
    Thank you for this!

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  8. What an excellent post this is! :)

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  9. Oh, great post! I think I tend to over-shelter (I struggle with this). But my husband and I are trying to lead by example and by the Word!
    Thanks for sharing!

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  10. I saw that you are reading "One Million Arrows" too. I'm about half-way through and it's great so far! Great points in this post- I couldn't agree more. Being in the world but not of the world is tough for everyone. I struggle with wanting to over protect my kids...so much that I really wanted to homeschool. But then I realized that the brave thing to do was to trust God and send them to public school. Okay, I've rambled on long enough :)

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  11. Your post was interesting! My goal for my children is to know God well and follow Him because they know Him and love Him. I think the hardest part in doing that is to lean in and listen hard as God directs our paths as parents. Each of us will be a little different and it should be that way; God gave us the children he gave us for a reason.
    May God direct you as parents!

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  12. Beautiful! While it is definitely my mind's goal to have our children have that kind of impact for His kingdom, I honestly struggle in my heart w/ the depth of my children doing those hard things for Christ...it opens the mind to so much...the mission field where Christianity isn't accepted specifically. Thank you for this challenging post & thank you for visiting & commenting on my post...words of affirmation for me...very possibly. :)

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