Raising kids is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
If you have kids, you know what I am talking about. It takes a level of energy, intentionality and selflessness like nothing else. Yet, there is nothing more rewarding than investing in the souls of the kids God has entrusted to you.
Through the last few months, I’ve grown so aware of my own weaknesses related to raising kids. I had two amazing parents that modeled godly parenting. So did my wife. My grandparents also were (and still are) amazing parents and grandparents. The way parenting has been modeled for us is often the way we parent – good or bad. My dad, when speaking to other parents, says that 98% of us will parent they way we were parented. That means only 2% of us change the legacy we’ve been handed.
So you want to be a good parent? Or do you just want to help those around you parent well? Then let me suggest the following:
- Let the Bible be on your tongue when talking to kids. The Bible is an amazing storybook. When you are raising kids, or just around kids, be quick to say, “Hey! Did you hear the story about the superhero, Samson?!” Tell them stories from the Bible often. I drive my son to school and share a Bible story with him when we drive. I get in trouble if I forget. This means that I have to be in God’s Word myself and always ready to share it.You may not be a parent, but even babysitters, friends, aunts and uncles can be quick to tell Bible stories. Share your favorite. Act one out with them. Show them that the Bible is fun.
- Pray with them – and teach them how to pray. I believe God loves to hear kids pray. How cool would it be if you could help them see prayer as a first response as opposed to a last resort? Even my 18-month-old loves to pray. We taught her this prayer, (with hands folded and moving side-to-side), “Tick-tock, Tick-tock, this is the way we pray. We thank the Lord Jesus Christ for giving us food today. Hoorah!”
- Pray for your kids. I don’t think I pray about anything more than my kids, and specifically their salvation. My wife has calendar reminders on her phone so she will stop and pray for them throughout the day. If you are not praying for them, who is? Make a discipline of it. One of my favorite times to pray for them is as I put them to bed and they drift off into dreamland. I stay there and pray for their little souls; it is a sweet time with the Lord.
Finally, if you are a pastor, can I say to you (because I preach this to myself too), we have to be intentional first at home. Barna wrote:
“nearly two out of ten (17%) pastors link their own preoccupation as too–busy parents with the frustrated faith of their children. And about one–sixth of pastors trace the prodigal tendencies of their children back to the lack of faith modeled consistently at home (14%).”
If we are not investing in the kids at our home first, we are working against ourselves. The stereotypes of PK’s rebelling are too well know. Let’s change the tide and let our home lives preach louder than our words on Sunday.
The pay off for spiritual intentionality is greater than momentary success or monetary gain. What is worth more to you, having great success in your thirties or having your kids know Christ and have eternity with Him?
Don’t let the souls of your kids be your lowest priority.