My precious little granddaughter started kindergarten this week. It was a monumental week for her, but an even bigger one for her mommy who has come to the stark realization that her baby girl is growing up. I have to admit that as her grandmother I have felt the same tinge of sadness mingled with the concern for our little girl starting a new adventure.
As the sun peeked through my blinds on Monday morning, my first thought was of my little Ava and I felt compelled to spend some time praying for her as she navigates the year ahead of her.
I suppose some of my anxiety is due to the fact that I am aware of the challenging times in which we live. And yet, every generation has faced their difficulties and through all the changes God remains the same. So I have been praying that my little Ava would flourish in this season of her life and that we would see all her potential come to the fore as she begins her new adventure. It caused me to reflect on a text in the Bible found in Joshua 24:15 “…But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Joshua had seen what serving other gods was like, he had viewed the nations around about him and he was fully convinced that serving God was the only way that his family would flourish. So how do we flourish as families living in a postmodern milieu where there are no absolutes and everyone can create his or her own truth?
1. Make a decision to serve God – Let your children know and understand clearly that your family has made a conscious choice to follow the God of the Bible. Part of that commitment should be displayed by times of prayer and Bible reading together as a family.
2. Take an interest in every aspect of your children’s lives – We live in a strange world and although we cannot protect our children from the world we can certainly help them to navigate some of the challenges. That is why it is imperative to know what your children are doing and where they are. You should ensure that the company your children keep is wholesome. Take time to know their friends. Invite their friends into the warmth of your home and make them feel welcome.
3. Encourage your children to be open with you – Your relationship with your children should be a trusting one in which they feel free to share some of the unsavory things that cross their pathway. The way you respond to your children will either ensure that they come to you when they have problems, or they will determine to take their problems elsewhere. Keep your relationship with your children open and trusting.
4. Don’t give your children independence before they are ready for it – I am always amazed when parents say; “They are old enough to make their own decisions, I cannot force them to do anything.” As long as your children put their feet under your table you have the authority as well as the responsibility to speak into their lives. If you know that something is unwholesome for your children then you should explain why it is and offer them an alternative to what they might be suggesting.
5. Make sure your children feel secure – Your children need to know that you accept them as they are. Help your children to understand their uniqueness. If they are not academic you should encourage them and help them to discover where their strength lies. You should never make them feel inferior because they cannot achieve what you desperately want them to. Don’t live out your failed dreams through your precious children.
6. Tell your children every day that you love them – Let your children know and feel above everything else that you love them. Your children should feel that they are significantly more important than your work, possessions or any other relationship.
7. Teach your children respect for others – Your children will become wholesome adults if you teach them to respect all people everywhere. Regardless of color, economy or social status your children should learn to honor everyone.
8. Teach your children responsibility – The only way children become responsible with money is if you give them an allowance and teach them how to budget. It is a good thing for children to work to earn money and learn the value of it when they are young.
9. Train your children to depend on God – It is vital that from the earliest age your children develop a knowledge of God and learn to lean on Him when things get tough. Teach them to pray when they face challenges. Let them know that talking to God is like chatting with their best friend.
10. Enjoy every moment with your children – Time goes by so quickly and before you know it they are walking down the aisle. Yes, it seems like a long way in the future, but believe me it is upon you before you know it. Take time to listen to their stories, stop to smell the roses with them, splash in the mud and gaze at the stars.
Life is short. The Bible says it is like a vapor, here one minute and then gone. What a privilege you have to raise your little ones and see them grow into flourishing human beings. I trust that you will determine that you and your household will ‘serve the Lord’ and in so doing flourish as a family.
I am and always will be,
Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,