My biggest concern, maybe even obsession, is taking care of the most precious gift ever given to me, my kids (that‘s after my salvation of course.) As a child of God, it is so important that I am the mother my Heavenly Father wants and expects me to be. And as a mother, it is so important that I give my kids the best. Can those two goals be the same thing? Well, they should be, but if you think about it, society tells us something different. Everything we see and hear around us today tells us that our kids should have this or that, wear this or that, look like this or that, be the best at this or that, get grades like this or that, excel at this or that. So what’s the best for my kids; this, or that? I say neither. Let’s stop caring about what everyone else thinks and start caring about what God thinks.
I want my kids to be talented at something, to be dressed nice, to be well liked in school, and so on. But what should my priority as the person responsible for my kids development into adulthood be? What kind of an adult do I want my child to grow into? Do I want them to think that the success of their life is measured by the way they look, or the amount of money they make and things they own, or by fame and recognition? Obviously, no. What I want is to insure the best life possible for them when they leave my house. I want to make sure they know what really matters now so that when I’m not around to remind them, or protect them they all ready know. My main goal is to make sure that the truth of Jesus Christ is securely planted in their hearts so that when they stray away, they will find their way back. I say “when” because it is almost inevitable that at some point in your child’s life they will go down a wrong road. The Bible tells us that if you train them up right they will always have it in them and will return.
Well, I am no expert, and I am learning as I go, so don’t think I am preaching here. I am far from a perfect mother, and I believe that God wants me to learn through the things He inspires me to write. I know He has His plans and I am just going to trust that the right words will be typed. “So, God, I ask that you teach me, remind me, and motivate me through this.”
So how do you train them up right? And what’s the right path? Well, it’s the greatest gift you can give your child. It’s sharing God’s love. It’s talking with them about Jesus and what He did for them. Let them know how much God loves them and how special they are in His eyes. Make sure they understand that God is their Heavenly Father and wants to have a relationship with them. He wants to talk with them, walk with them, care for them, protect them, and always be there for them. No matter where they are God is there also. Help them to understand the Holy Trinity. Explain to them that God is their Father who created them. That Jesus is God incarnate and that He came to be the final sacrifice and through Him we have salvation and everlasting life in Heaven. Also explain to them that when Jesus ascended into heaven He said He would always be with us so He gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is Jesus living in our hearts, guiding and protecting us. Make sure they know that they have a home in Heaven when their life here is all done. Talk about these things, in the car, while cooking dinner, at the store, wherever. Try to incorporate it into everything that they do. Try to not make it just a bedtime ritual that they rush through. Ask them to express their feelings about it or if they have any questions. Share with them that when they are scared they can talk to God and ask for help and courage. When they are happy and even when they are sad, they can thank God for His blessings in their life. Make it so common place that it becomes natural for them to talk about God. Be nonchalant about it so that it feels normal and not embarrassing. By doing this you help them build their life around God instead of the other things they may be focused on. Everything else is secondary and is a blessing and a gift from God. Every hurt and letdown is an opportunity for them to rely on God and trust in Him even more. To understand that no matter what happens God is still there.
So, you may be thinking that it’s easier said than done; but not really. Ask yourself this; What kind of a relationship do I have with Jesus? Is it the same as what I want for my kids? Do I rely on and trust in Him for my needs? Do I pray and love Him with all my heart? If you answered yes to those questions, then it will be easy. Just do what you’re already doing out loud so that your kids can hear and see you. Be an example of what you want for them. Show them that it’s not dumb or silly to love God and to pray. Be proud and loud about your faith in front of your kids. Let them see you praise God. Your kids will learn more from that than from preaching to them. Let them know that you make mistakes and that you are sorry. Ask them for their forgiveness when you are wrong or impatient or rude to them and then let them know you are asking God to help you be a better parent. Have a humble spirit around your kids. All of these things will have a huge lasting impression on them. They will have a lot more respect for you and it will build their own confidence in who they are and who they can become. They will learn about forgiveness and understanding which will make life a lot more pleasant for them.
Here are some examples of a few small things that I am doing that will hopefully have a big impact on my kids. I talk about God a lot. I will randomly pray in the car out loud about something I’m thinking of or an accident I just saw. I sometimes ask them to pray with me for something specific. I often thank God out loud and remind them to as well. I let them see me reading the Bible and I leave it out. Every night when we pray I ask them to pray whatever is on their mind and sometimes suggest someone to pray for or something to say thanks for, then the rest is up to them. Give them the freedom to say what they want. Then I say my own prayer out loud with each kid. This is something I recently learned and started because of an amazing church service about parenting. I first thank God for that child. I ask Him to bless them, keep them safe and sound, happy and healthy. Then I ask God to help me to be the best mommy I can be. And if I was not so nice that day I ask for forgiveness and to help me to be nicer. You have no idea how much this helps me. It takes away any negative feelings I have about myself as a parent and reminds me that each day is a day to do better. And now my kids know that I want to do better and that I am going to try. I know that this may sound like a lot, but it really isn’t. Just be vocal. That is really all it takes. Communication is key. So learn to communicate the most about what is most important. It’s that simple.
Why should our faith in Jesus be the most important thing to teach your kids? Well, it’s the only thing that will save their soul. If you want the ultimate protection for you precious children, then this is it. Everything else is nonessential. I promise that if you teach them the truth about God and His love, then God will take care of the rest. If you want your child to have Christ like characteristics, love, respect, kindness, generosity, obedience, humility, compassion, understanding, all those traits that are so attractive, then teach them about Jesus Christ. Once Jesus is in their hearts and their love and passion for Him grows, so will their character. Chose your battles with your kids. Let’s take the pressure off ourselves and keep it simple. The only thing really worth fighting for with them is their knowledge and understanding of what it truly means to be a Christian. Then give up all your worries and stress about how to be the best parent and how to have the best kids. Place them in the safety of God’s hands, He created them and already knows their special gifts and purpose in life. Let Him take over. He can do a better job than we can. Do it for your kids, they’ll thank you for it later!
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
In the end this is what matters most. Don’t wait till then to realize it.