We can talk about our blessings all we want. We can make well-designed memes on giving thanks. We can give Texas-sized tributes to God’s gifts, but If we do not end the complaining, we negate the benefits of “thanksgiving.” Worse still, our children mimic the behavior, perpetuating the attitude of ingratitude. Before I correct the grumblings of my children, I should start by curbing my own. If I want my children to live like Christ, I need to model Christ-like behavior.
So many families have no choice but to be dual-income. With the cost of living rising faster than wages and divorce rates elevated, many parents are unable to volunteer in their kids' classes. Some parents have to put their kids into after-school care with people they don't know all that well. Homeschool parents also get overwhelmed, particularly if they have children with developmental, physical or behavioral disorders. Grandparents, retired from full-time work, can play a valuable role in the lives of their grandchildren while providing some much needed help for their children.
As we press through August and into the fall, we will see frequent signs that school is back in session. Gradually, a few parents will develop a worry line or two. Homeschool moms may find themselves sobbing as perfect lesson plans implode in the face of another autistic episode. Another mom may be quietly sobbing in an empty room as their youngest child moves three or three hundred miles away from home in pursuit of a college degree. A dad may be getting stomach ulcers worrying about the safety of his daughter around all those teenage boys. On top of all the back-to-school changes, these parents are still facing life with all it's pressures and frustrations. Are we sensitive to their needs? Are we reaching out to be supportive? Encouraging? Helpful?
Parenting is inconvenient. Yes, I just said that. Once you have a child, your life will be forever changed. You will be humbled. Humiliated. Screamed at. Loved with abandon. Squeezed with unimaginable strength by those little arms. Amazed. Shocked. heartbroken. Overwhelmed with love. Filled with a newfound awe for your own parents. Unfortunately, once the baby… Continue reading Is Your Parenting on Cruise Control?
This article is part of the series “Building GenNext.” You can read the previous post by clicking here. Somewhere in the past, someone concluded the primary reason children were leaving the church was somehow related to it's boringness. There was a slow movement toward making entertainment more important than education and edification. And yet, in spite of the hyped up… Continue reading Entrust: Involving Children in the Important within the church (part 2)
This article is part of the series “Building GenNext.” You can read the previous post by clicking here. It is a valuable exercise to read books such as Little House in the Big Woods and In Grandma's Attic. These stories reveal how children used to be entrusted with so much more than cleaning up their rooms. They had cows… Continue reading Entrust: Involving Children in the Important (part 1)
Elisabeth Elliot has mentioned in multiple books how her family had devotional time every morning. Corrie Ten Boom noted that her father read a chapter from the Bible every morning. In both cases, all the children in their families grew up with a love for the Lord. That tells me that consistent, active teaching is of great value.
The ancient Israelites showcase the rewards of following God and the pitfalls of apathy. We would do well to learn from their mistakes. The above passage from Deuteronomy, while addressed to the Israelites, holds a very important principle for parents and teachers alike: actively teach your children about the Lord and His commands. In this series on training GenNext Christians, we have covered two of our 6 E's---Engage and Exemplify. This next string of posts will cover E number three: Equip: Teach and Train.
Children are keen observers and imitators. Compliant children will try to do what their parents do in order to make them happy. Strong-willed kids amy try to be little rebels, but even they have a tendency to imitate their parents to some degree. They are always watching how we handle our circumstances. What we do has a greater influence than what we say. Is your example one worth following??
A Barna Group study reported in 2013, states, "Seven out of 10 Millennials who dropped out of church did not have a close friendship with an adult and nearly nine out of ten never had a mentor at the church." Furthermore, they report "Those who stay were twice as likely to have a close personal friendship with an adult inside the church (59% of those who stayed report such a friendship versus 31% among those who are no longer active). The same pattern is evident among more intentional relationships such as mentoring—28% of Millennials who stay had an adult mentor at the church other than their pastor, compared to 11% of dropouts who say the same." As that study indicates, relationships are not a guarantee that children raised by Christians will remain in the church, but it is apparent that meaningful relationships influence that choice.