There has been a parenting movement in our nation over the past few decades that encourages parents to let their children find their own way. This philosophy urges parents to provide a safe environment for children but not to be overly pushy. Don’t try to impose your beliefs on your children, just allow them to find their own way. As a Christian parent the bible teaches me that this new philosophy of parenting is, as my dad would say, “HOGWASH!” As a parent it is vital to attempt to build values and convictions into your children so that they will become all that God desires them to become. Much of the book of Proverbs was written as a father to a son. Over and over again in the book the author reminds the reader to “listen,” “remember,” and “bind my teachings around your neck.” The truths in Proverbs are truths that the author knew his son must absorb into his mind and heart.
As a parent there are certain truths that I must do everything in my power to ingrain within the minds and hearts of my little ones. To fail in this area of parenting could have eternal consequences for my child. I want my children to know truths because they have heard them so often that they become second nature. I want God’s truths to be hardwired into their hearts.
If you have multiple children you know that each one of your children is wired very differently. It is a process getting to know how each child learns and the specific needs and gifts of each child. My oldest son, Ty, is 6 years old. Each day I take him to school and have a few vital moments to speak truth into his life. On our drive, or when I eat breakfast with him at school, these are the things I try to tell him every day.
I tell him that Jesus and his parents love him dearly. I want Ty to know that whatever happens, whatever he does, not matter how bad he blows it, he has a father who will always love him. I love him because he is my son. My love for him is not conditional. I am clear to him everyday that I love him not based on his performance. I love him simply because he is my son. We are all more suited for life when we know we are unconditionally loved.
I tell him God has a plan for his life. I want it to be ingrained in his head that he is not an accident. He is not a result of a random chance. He is a special creation of God. He was put here by God to accomplish a great purpose for the kingdom of God. I want him to learn that he has gifts and abilities that are given to him for the purpose of God’s glory.
I tell him that even if things don’t go well at school and people don’t treat him with kindness that he fits at home. School is tough. Kids make fun of you. Kids are cruel and mean. We cannot shield our children from these truths. I believe home must be a safe haven where every child fits and every child is accepted.
I tell him to think of others as more important than himself. The foundational principle of the Christian life is humility. The highest value I can teach him is humility. Each day Ty quotes Philippians 2:3 to me in order to remind himself and his dad to “think of others as more important than yourself.”
I ask him: What is the most important thing in life? The question is the same and the answer is the same. His answer, “To love God.” To which I say, “Correct, son.” Teaching him to draw is awesome. Listening to him read is so cool. Throwing the football with him is epic, but teaching him that loving God is the most important thing is absolutely critical.
I am working on different ways to communicate the same truths to my little girls. Karis is my diva who really struggles with having a bad attitude. Each day I get her to repeat after me: “My attitude determines my joy. I will choose today to have a good attitude.” For a four year old this is probably not sinking in. But I know that if I am diligent now when she is young, when she is grow that statement may just make up the DNA of her life.
I am still working on how I need to speak to Katie and Joy. I am seeking to know my children better every day.
What do you tell your children everyday? What do you desire to build into their DNA?