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one more pass at FIVE THINGS

September 4, 2019

Your kids need more than five things in their spiritual, mental, physical and emotional toolkit before they leave home.  The number’s probably more like 500.  But that’s way too many things for a blog to cover.  Anyway, way too many for a blog I write.  Five, though, that’s a number even a guy like me can deal with.  So we’re going for five.

I gave you the top three of my List of Five Things last time I posted (Five Things).  Your kids need to have their own walk with God, and know how to nurture it.  (Spoiler alert: I’m going to expand on that a little here…)  They need to know how to fail successfully.  And they need to be able to steward their own lives by doing the little things, like making their bed.

Before I crack open the last two on my list, I  want to go back to the first thing and expand on it a little – to have their own walk with God, and know how to nurture it.  I think there are a few crucial things involved in this.  First of all connecting with God.

Connecting with Him by reading the Bible (His Word) for meaning, and connecting with Him through prayer.  I say connecting with Him by reading the Bible for meaning because there a lots of people who read the Bible with little intention of understanding it well enough to actually do what it says to do and be how it says to be.  Then connecting with His people (the church), serving others out of gratitude for His kindness, and then sharing the good news of His grace in their circle of influence.

The first two of these things fall into the category of Quiet Time.  The other pieces of it need separate blogs, but I won’t do that now.  Just the Quiet Time piece.

What time of day a person does their Quiet Time isn’t as important as that they do it.  Although I’m way not a morning person, I’ve discovered that first thing in the morning is the best time for me to have my Quiet Time.  If I wait until later in the day, my time and attention get hijacked by other urgent things, and most of the time, I don’t get back to it at all.  The end of the day worked when I was young, but the older I get, the less of me there is at the end of the day.

I never taught any of our three daughters how to have a Quiet Time.  They never asked me to teach them.  But they all three developed this habit, starting in their Jr. High years.  I believe this happened because they saw their mom and me both having our Quiet Time every day.

At the time, living in a tiny cracker box house where there was really no private places except the bathroom didn’t seem like a blessing, but it was.  I had to do my QT (Quiet Time) out there in the open where they saw me doing it.  For me, it was in the beat-up Lazy Boy recliner in the living room.  For Debbie, it was at the kitchen table.

Neither of us made a production of it.  We just did it.  We didn’t start this habit when the girls were in Jr. High, though.  We started it when they were babies.

If your kids are older, don’t believe the lie that they won’t notice or be influenced by your example.  They will notice it, and even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time, they will be influenced by it.  Obviously, the younger your kids are when you model this kind of spiritual discipline in their presence, the stronger the influence it will have on them, but even if your kids aren’t little anymore, you can give them an example to follow.

So step one on this is DEVELOP YOUR OWN QUIET TIME HABIT.  The really good news is that there are hundreds of good tools to help you with this.  I love the YouVersion of the Bible.  It’s FREE!  Click this link to get connected with it: YouVersion.  Poke around and find the “Plans.”  You’ll find more helps than you have time to get into.  (LifeChurch is who we thank for this amazing resource.  They’ve created it and continue to improve it, making it absolutely free to anybody who wants it.)

So before another day passes, get started modeling this habit for your kids.

Number Four for me is that they know how to identify their emotions and own them appropriately.  This one comes to them, not from a book or a video (although there are some really good books and videos about it), but from you, again.  Your kids will handle their emotions in the ways they see you handling yours.  How does that make you feel?…

There are rare kids out there in the world who have learned how to identify their feelings better than their parents do.  These kids are exceedingly rare.  It would be unwise and unfair, really, to depend on the possibility that your kid may be in the .003% on this.  Educate them through your example.  Which means, you’re going to have to educate yourself to identify and own your emotions appropriately.  That’s a big job.  You’ll probably need help to get there.  I’ll write more about this at another time.  Just log it down on your list.

And finally, that they know who they really are.  This is closely related to number one on my list, to have their own walk with God, and know how to nurture it.  If you don’t have your own walk with God, you can’t know who you really are.  Your true identity is rooted in who God says you are, not who other people say you are.

I want to make sure you know that this is not about showering your darling with empty and meaningless praise.  This isn’t about handing out participation trophies.  You telling your kid that they can be anything they want to be is (sorry) a lie.  The truth is, they may never make the big leagues, or cure cancer, or live in the White House.  If they do, make sure they invite me over!  But the odds against these things happening are astronomical.

Who God says you are is the bottom line.  This is your true identity.  I’m not talking about the warm fuzzies I see on FaceBook about how you’re the greatest, and if you just believe, your life will be an amazing and wonderful site to behold.  Sometimes, no matter how deeply you believe, your life is going to look like a B-grade disaster movie.  The world is fallen.  Every ending isn’t happy.  I know, I’m jaded.  Sorry.  Not sorry.

You don’t get the needed data about your identity from FaceBook.  You get it from The Book.  The Bible.

I love to ask the question, “If you believed about yourself what God says He believes about you, how different would your life be?”  Unfortunately, most people don’t know enough about what God believes about them to have an intelligent answer for this.  They either rely on all kinds of flawed and inaccurate sources to know what He believes about them, or they make something up that feels comforting to them.

Here’s a good place to start: Who Does God Say I Am.  Almost none of the points here are in language kids will connect with, but it’s a very biblical resource.  Ask God to give you creative insight to translate these eternal concepts into language your kid(s) will understand.  Then be creative and intentional about how you engage your kid(s) with them.  Nobody wants you to succeed at this as much as God does!  So lean into it in partnership with Him.

From → Marriage

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