We desire to raise kids that listen, learn, and stay in the faith, but how?
By Jeff Schadt — Revive Family Founder
What makes us great faith-based parents?
That is a question we should all ponder. Now take a few minutes to consider it and then write down 3 to 5 short bullet points that you believe make great faith-based parents.
As you review your list, how are you feeling?
- Successful or unsuccessful?
- Burdened or free?
- Guilty or at peace?
If you are feeling guilty, burdened or unsuccessful, you are likely in a similar place as your kids ages 10 and up. This is essential to acknowledge and understand because compassion flows from understanding and Jesus was full of compassion.
How do I know where your kids are? I do something similar with kids in youth groups around the country. The lists they create on our retreats leave them feeling unsuccessful, burdened, and or guilty. This is tragic because they are forgiven, past present and future sins, just like you and I are. Failure is part of growing up and part of life in a fallen world. A vast majority of kids in youth groups believe they are falling short, not good enough and are not lovable. Though their parents may not believe it, they see this as being solely on their foreheads.
As they create their lists and wrestle with the verse where Jesus says my yoke is easy and my burden is light, they draw conclusions that:
- They are failing and are failures
- The Bible does not work and what Jesus taught is not true, which many are silently thinking by age 11, 12 and 13.
What surprises me is that not a single student in hundreds of groups came up with the third option that there is something wrong with what they have been taught.
- There is something wrong with what they have been taught.
So how does this relate to being a great Christian parent. Great parents take the time to look at everything from all the angles including weighing their kid’s perspective. Parents who listen and then take time to consider and pray about what their kids have shared earn great respect from their kids. They have deeper conversations and often develop a greater respect for their kids. With deeper interaction we come to understand that our kids are thinking things through and trying more than we typically understand.
As we move forward in this series we will look at a number of topics that will challenge, encourage, free, and help us connect with our kids at a deeper level. Some are typical parenting topics such as discipline and respect but we will look at them from a different perspective. Others may be new thoughts all together as we seek to develop the ability to be more spiritual parents that look beyond the world’s expectations, society’s pressure and our friends and family’s advice. We will work to understand what the Lord would say to each of us about being amazing spiritual parents.
To begin the series I want each of us to take a moment and ask ourselves the question: Does parenting need to be as complicated or as much work as society, my friends, family or I make it? Great spiritual parents rest in the belief that Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is light. I know our first thoughts might be: wait a minute, there is so much to do, in fact there is too much to do, I am in survival mode and my kids don’t listen to me. Yet we can find solace in passages like this.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, my Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” — Psalm 19:14
We need to look beyond the world and seek spiritual answers. We need to ask our selves transparent questions like:
If I walked closely with God and followed the guidance of the Spirit would parenting be easier, freer and more fruitful?
What would change with my kids if my heart was filled with the joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control the Spirit is said to provide?
What if I was allowing the Spirit to give me the words to say? Would I be like the psalmist we see in Psalm 19:14?
If this were the case, how much would it change my relationship with my kids along with their desire to listen to and follow me?
I encourage you to ponder these questions this week with me. Consider what would change in our homes and with our kids’ response to us if the words from our mouths and the meditations of our hearts were pleasing in the sight of the Lord?
We can be parents that seek to make it all happen and to meet all the expectations or maybe God provides a different path, one where we find more rest, peace and closeness in our relationship with our kids.
As we embark on this blog series we need to view it as a journey and an exploration. Together let’s purpose and pray for our hearts to open to what God has to share with each of us and expect God to open our eyes, change our hearts and develop within us the Good Shepherd’s love for our kids. He is not willing that any should be lost.
Next week we will explore the expectations and pressures we feel and face as parents and if they are helping or hurting the relationship with our kids and their desire to stay in the faith. If you are in an urgent situation and feel you need something now, please sign up for Influential Parenting Academy today. Work through the classes and set up a parent support call with me. Contact me through the contact us form on our site.