Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Christian Response: Why My Kids Are NOT the Center of My World

Just recently, I read an article quite a few Facebook friends posted on parenting titled, Why My Kids Are NOT the Center of My World. It was passionate and challenging. And for that reason I really liked it.

I write this response not because it was wrong, but because it was incomplete.

It was a very strong indicator of a parenting issue I've seen grow by leaps and bounds in my generation of parenting. There's a purposeless people crisis going on right now- fostered by crippling parenting techniques.

So we’ve hopped aboard the parenting pendulum that swings to either “modern” parenting that enables children- thereby disabling them from increasing their skill set and contributing to the world, or “old school” parenting- giving the kids a 24/7 dose of the loving reality that they aren’t the center of anyone’s world.

So as a Christian parent, how do I handle the truth that our Heavenly Father sacrificed His one and only Son so that we could be reconciled to Him? That action clearly indicates that I am worth dying for. I have value. How do I parent my kids and combat the lie that they are the most important person in the world, without swinging into the lie that they really aren’t that special?

By changing the focus. I like to call it our third dimension. Believers get another option. Ultimately, it’s not about us or them. It’s about Him.

Center of the Universe- we simply aren’t it. But that’s not because we aren’t that special compared to the population of the planet. It is because God is so surpassingly special.

I didn’t grow up learning to serve others and love others because that was the way to serve society. I didn’t grow up learning a good work ethic because that was how America was built, or because I owed it to the community around me.

I grew up learning those things because I grew up knowing God first loved me and acted on my behalf.

It’s not discipline that grows good kids into good adults. It’s love. It has always been love.

That doesn’t mean living for your kids. It doesn’t mean living in spite of your kids. It means living with your kids, and living for God.

It means teaching your kids that they have value beyond what the world says. And as a matter of fact, so does everyone else. So it means teaching your kids to treat every single human being as God would treat them- with love. Because everyone- every single person has value. God doesn’t screw up. He doesn’t make mistakes. (1 Cor 1:25-31)

It means teaching them that, while the world may be harsh, while they may be shoved and disregarded by mean people, they have the ability to take all those hurts and anguishes to a God who loves them. Who sympathizes with them because He endured it all. And endured it for them.

It means teaching them that it will all be worth it. That when you die to self and live for Christ, all that other crap isn’t that big of a deal.

It means teaching them consequences. Because God uses discipline to prune out the branches in our life that would block out His presence and shrivel our faith. It hurts- daily- but our faith is strengthened most in the times we realize our need for Him.

It means teaching them perseverance. To not give up. To never quit or grow weary of doing good. It means teaching them to follow through because God has it all worked out and will complete that good work in us. (Galatians 6:9)

It means teaching them thankfulness. Teaching them to pray in thankfulness because every moment is a gift. Every moment has been given to us- good and bad- by a faithful God who never deigns for us to go it alone.

It means teaching them to be prepared. Because attacks will come. They’ll be disguised in human flesh, but the devil is on the prowl. (Ephesians 5:10) And God doesn’t leave them stranded ever. He prepares hearts, and the battle is His alone. They need only be still and let Him do His work.

It means teaching them to forgive like you’ve been forgiven.

It means teaching them that God’s near enough to talk to.

 It means that our lives are all wrapped in to one big story- His story. And that they are so crucial to it because His love for them is one of a kind. His love in their life glorifies His ultimate goodness.

It means teaching them to wait, because God’s timing is always best. (Galatians 4:4)

It means teaching them to live passionately, because there is more to life than working hard and accumulating knowledge. More than skills and money. Even more than faith. Without love from God, you can wipe your be-hind with all good stuff of the world, cause it’s worthless. That’s why it doesn’t fulfill. It wasn’t meant to. (1 Cor 13)

It means teaching them to live by faith, not by sight. It means teaching them to live courageously, because courage looks beyond the trials to the end goal. There will be times when their circumstances seem too much to handle- but godly courage lifts their eyes to the One who holds their future. It may be risky, but God is right there. (2 Corinthians 6:5-7)
It means bringing them to Jesus. Not on Sundays- every day. Because their troubles don't keep a calendar. They don't care what you're doing on Friday night- they might just show up. And if your dear ones are only acquainted with a weekend Jesus- they are going to be lost. Plus, Jesus is just so awesome. Really. And you can grow in your love for Him and each other simultaneously- BONUS!
I'm sure it means teaching my kids lots of other things too. There are oodles and oodles of scripture passages- you are welcome to add any in comments- that I could have used. But see, I was supposed to clean the office when I sat down to write this and I'm not good at multitasking when I type. My bad. But it's ok, because I know my value goes way beyond my typing-tasking prowess. So I won't let it get me down. See how that works? ;)

We will not hide them from their children,
    but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders that he has done.
Psalm 78:4