“Point your kids in the right direction— when they’re old they won’t be lost.” Proverbs 22:6 (The Message)
Last time we were together, I talked about how I’m quicker to encourage my friends to talk to God about the issues they are facing instead of offering my less-than-perfect solutions. It wasn’t until a week later that I realized that while I’ve improved, I still have some work to do in that department. While I’m quick to point my friends in the direction of our Father, I need to get quicker at pointing my children in His direction too.
We are raising our kids in a Christian household, which simply means that God is the center of our family. We invite God into every situation and He is talked about constantly in many ways: “What would God want us to do in this situation? What would Jesus do when faced with this issue?” What would the Bible tell us to do about this, or that, or…?”
However, I realized that while I’ve stopped offering advice to my friends and choose to point them to God and His advice, I get in the way more times than not with my kids even as I’m pointing them to the One who has the answers. I will ask the above questions and then instead of giving them a chance to think about or better yet, ask God themselves how He wants them to handle a particular situation, I share with them what I would do.
I’m realizing now how wrong that is. I think I’ve always felt a responsibility as the parent that I have to engage, have to give advice, have to share wisdom, etc. I love to talk, especially if given the opportunity to share what God is doing in my life or what I’m learning about Him or from Him.
There are times that my kids will want me to give them help and guidance as they navigate the road to adulthood. However, we have three kids in three different stages of development. One is still in elementary school and while he still needs correction, he’s very good at solving issues logically. When given a direction, he will obey even if he chooses to do it from a different angle than was suggested. Our middle schooler needs more guidance from me than strict discipline. Having a different personality from her younger brother, I need to consider that fact when approaching her with issues. And then we have our oldest, two years away from adulthood. He needs more connection than correction at this stage.
I need to remember that it’s my job at this stage in their lives to create opportunities for our kids to connect with their Heavenly Father more than with my feelings or opinions. Our worship leader, Caleb Sunnock, made an impactful statement last night. He said that he grew up knowing about God and learning about God, but it wasn’t until he stepped into a real relationship with God that he fell completely in love. Just as it’s more loving for me to point my friends in the direction of our Creator than to give imperfect advice, it’s the most loving thing I can do as a parent to create opportunities for my children to grow their relationship with God personally instead of constantly wearing them out with my opinions. Their roots need time to grow deep and it’s my prayer that they will be firmly planted in God’s lap before they fly our coop.
© Cheri Swalwell 2016