The minute you become a parent, you embark in a dreaming journey... Will my kid be good at sports like his dad? Will he be artistic? Will he go to collage?
Dreams are good. They prepare us for the future and set our expectations. They help us be proactive and informed.They allow us to paint a mental picture of what lays ahead. Dreams point us to what to look forward to ...
Every parent has ambitions for their kids. Every parents possesses an invisible list in their heads that tells them what a "well-rounded kid" should look like. I'm sure you've thought about that. I know my husband and I talk about it often.
I just recently read the book Raising kingdom kids by Tony Evans and I have to tell you, I'm greatly inspired by the wisdom in this book.
We live in a world where position, fame, power, beauty and wealth are desirable goals to strife for. We want for our kids to be ready, be successful, do well in life. Therefore, we spend time, money and effort to make sure we give them plenty of opportunities to acquire the proper skills. To stimulate our kids and help them learn new abilities while their brains are moldable in itself is not a bad thing, but I can't help to wonder if all those things are really preparing them for adulthood.
"In order to raise our kids with the skills to not only survive but to thrive in the world, we need to raise children with the ability to discern what the world puts in front of them to lure them into bondage-whether that be emotional, spiritual, financial or relational."
We want to train their minds and bodies but what about their hearts? We spend many hours helping our kids with homework, we drive them to soccer, piano practice, gymnastics and Spanish. We have dinner on the go and even though sometimes this rhythm is tiring and stressful, we sacrifice in hope of keeping our children busy, engaged and out of trouble. How about family time?Are we reserving some hours out of our busy schedules to teach values, to reach their hearts, to show the importance of reflecting on the Word of God as our guide in life?
"It is easy for our kids to get caught up in what our world so tantalizingly sets before them: social media, television, gaming, and peer groups. They may not even realize they have strayed off the family path. As a parent, it is your responsibility to locate them, guide them, and bring them back"
If you are a believer, I'm sure you have this dream for your kids: to see them loving Christ and following Him every day of their lives. This, in my opinion, is the highest dream we can hope for our children. Now, if this is truly our biggest ambition for our loved ones, what are we doing to achieve it?
"When parents fail to provide their children with the tools necessary to resist the culture's onrush, the rising tide of secularism washes away a generation of children like a sand castle on the shores of life."
Hear me out! I'm not saying you should talk about the Bible and sing hymns all day and don't do anything else; what I'm saying is that we need to evaluate how we manage the time with our kids and be more intentional about how to show them a living faith.
Tony Evans talks in his book about the importance of raising kingdom kids in Kingdom homes. Kingdom kids don't need perfect parents. However, they need purposeful parents who seek to understand and apply God's principles in their homes. I really like the sound of that! The question is now, how do I do it?
Allow me to share with you Tony's main points if view:
1. Lead your kids to God.
"The single greatest reason why we are loosing our young people today is that the home is not longer a place where faith is transferred."
"Parents, if you are providing a home, clothes, food, and education to your child but not providing them with a foundation of a biblical worldview, you have not fulfill your roll as a provider."
2. Teach your children how to go against the grain when the grain goes against God.
"When you consider the vast number of hours children spend in a secularized school institutions and compare that with the amount of time parents pray for them, lead them in God's Word, and take them to church, it is frighteningly out of balance."
Parents, train up your children in God's Word and His principles so that the Holy Spirit has something to work with when they are not longer under your direct influence- and do it diligently."
3. Have in mind God has a plan that is specific to your child.
"God has a divinely ordained destiny for your child that includes his or her passions, personality, skills, dreams, and experiences. All of these merge together to enable your child to live out all he or she is created to be."
"One of the most important things you can do as a parent is help your children discover their spiritual gifts, passions, and vision so you can guide them into their calling."
4. Be aware that love is as love does.
"Your actions must demonstrate to them that the things they are struggling with get addressed, the areas where they need comfort get comforted, the esteem that they legitimately need is awarded, and the time they crave with you gets offered, or it's just cheap clanging songs. Sooner or later they will see through the words only to hear actions instead, leaving them with a heart that was once soft toward you now bitter and cold."
5. Encourage, discipline and instruct your children.
"Parents, let your words reach deep into your children's hearts with encouraging truths that communicate to them that your know their personalities, dreams, hopes, struggles and that it will all turn out ok because of who they are and to whom they belong. Give them the hope that they need to face each day."
"Parental discipline,when done well, trains your children to apply personal discipline as they grow older, as well as prevents them from making poor decisions later in life."
"Instructing your children in the Lord means spending time with them so they can see how to live out the gospel. It means letting them see you praying and studying the Bible."
6. Teach honor and respect.
" Children need to know how to honor and respect themselves, their parents and those around them in all that they do- in their words, actions and even in their thoughts.
If you want your children to give you honor and respect, honor and respect them, too by setting a good example and being consistent in your words and actions"
7. Cultivate the communication with your kids.
"A kingdom home should have open and frequent sharing of feelings or mutual concerns, listening, understanding, empathy, affirmation, and accessibility to discussion and information. There is no quality time without quantity time."
8. Promote table time.
Tony Evan emphasizes the importance of the time spent together during meals at the table.
" At the table, a major component for cultivating a kingdom atmosphere is the value you place in God's Word and prayer. God's Word has the power to shape your children's character and guide their behavior more than anything else"
Our world is a busy place. Our children have so many options to prepare them for the future to choose from in front of them. None of them harmful in itself. Most of them potentially good for them. However, there are only a short amount of hours in a day. And even more, there are only a few hours in a day a parent can influence his kids. This book made me reflect on the importance of the time I'm given every day with my kids. To make it count. To check my priorities. If my highest dream for my kids is to see their lives committed to Christ and for them to bear much fruit for His glory, I should invest most of my time and their time in kingdom skills. I should create and cultivate a kingdom home. Should I expose my kids to other activities like sports and such? Absolutely! As long as all those activities don't consume the time for what matter most!
What about you? Do you need to make some adjustments in your kids' schedules? Do you see the importance of giving them the necessary tools to live godly lives? I'd love to hear what you have to say!
Until next week,