For those of you who are parents, you’ve no doubt figured out by now that parenting is perhaps the greatest adventure of all. When your children come into the world, your life is inexplicably altered forever – there’s just no getting around it. We have such hopes and dreams for their lives.
I heard a story recently about a young person who made a horrendous mistake that will no doubt wind up following him for the rest of his life. I won’t go into details, but I was shocked someone so young could have made such a grievous error. Sometimes I think we discount the fact that evil exists in our world. Maybe some people simply don’t believe in the concept of evil, but the bible says it exists, and I certainly believe it. How else can we explain some of the things going on in the world today?
We do our best to provide for our children in every way – to give them a good education, a comfortable and stable home life, to be good role models as parents and to love them unconditionally. How then do we deal with unforeseen tragedy when it strikes in any form? Our children need us so much more than we realize, and quite possibly, more than they ever verbalize to us. We cannot afford to be lax with our attention, affection and uncompromising devotion.
When I was a younger mom, I went through a period of trying to be my son’s best friend. I wanted to be the “cool” mom. I thought it was important for him to like me and not just love me because I was his mother. Looking at things from a totally different perspective some thirty years later, I see now that my role as a mother of a young boy and then teenager was to be a parent – not a friend. Your children make much better friends when they’re 30! God assigns us the task of being a teacher, guide, moral compass, unfailing supporter and yes, disciplinarian. Children need boundaries in the worst way, especially when they’re teenagers. Of course it’s completely normal for them to begin to test those boundaries the older they get; however, we must learn how to stay in constant communication with them. We must learn how to be an integral part of their world at whatever age and whatever stage they’re going through. We must learn how to be giving and wise at the same time. Sometimes, the most loving thing we can do is say that dreaded word “no”. Regrettably, many parents are too afraid of losing their child’s affection to ever do that. As a result, the child then tries to assume the unfamiliar role as head of the household and all hell breaks loose. Children were never meant to assume that much responsibility until they are adults. It is our job as parents to exert our influence and wisdom over our children to shape their character. It will hold them in good stead as adults if we stick to our guns and lovingly enforce the rules. You may not be too popular for awhile, but believe me, they will thank you as an adult.
It grieves me no end to see children who may be brought up in affluent homes with no lack of material possessions, but yet, sadly lacking in parental love and guidance. Parents get sidetracked with the notion the more financial security they provide, the better off their child will be. Nothing could be further from the truth! Money and “things” will not save your child from drugs, pornography, premarital sex, and all the other myriad pressures children have to face today. School teachers are there to educate your child – not raise them. That’s your job as a parent.
I know I’m on a rant here, but it really bothers me there are so many kids out there today with parents present in the home, but not really in touch with their child’s life. Time is the one commodity you cannot replace. You can always give them more money, clothes, cars, activities, etc., but you only have so much time with them under your protective wing at home. What am I saying? Be there……be there in every way – not just physically, but emotionally and especially, spiritually. Are you aware that God expects you to be their spiritual leader and guide as they mature enough to come to a saving knowledge of God’s truth and grace? Of course your church pastor, Sunday school teacher and other church leaders are there to reinforce what you teach at home, but don’t just leave it all up to them. I wish I could say that I was always diligent in that area, but I wasn’t. Thankfully, my husband was responsible for a large part of my son’s spiritual guidance and he has grown up to be a wonderful man and exceptional parent in his own rite, in spite of my shortcomings.
Let your child know in no uncertain terms that you will love them always and unconditionally with God’s love; that you will love and support them through all their mistakes and failures. Tell them every single day not only how much you love them, but how glad you are to be their parent! It makes a difference – a huge difference. As they grow to be adults, it grounds them and provides a stability that will stay with them their entire lives. They will be able to go through life with confidence because of the guidance and wisdom you provided. Take the time, make the effort. Careers and other cares of the world will come and go, but your time with your kids is short. Make the most of it.
I’ll quit ranting now and leave you with this…..Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Words to live by…
See you next week,