Enjoying the Journey
Children are often the best teachers…”out of the mouth of babes.” Tammy and I want to teach our kids everything we possibly can, but I realize that often God is using them to teach us. Many lessons have been learned through my own failures as a parent. School is in session every day and the classroom is our home. This list is by no means exhaustive but here are a few of the lessons my children are teaching me…
1. Peer pressure starts early (and never ends!).
It is fascinating to observe the influence that older siblings and peers have on young children. Everyone wants to belong, to be accepted. Learning to live for the approval of One is among life’s greatest lessons. This is a lesson for every age and stage in life.
2. Anger reproduces after its own kind.
When we react in anger and “vent” our frustrations, they multiply. What goes in little ears soon comes out little tongues. I must pray every day that God will make me more like my Heavenly Father. He has never dealt with me in anger, even when He has disciplined me.
3. Children must develop their own relationship with God.
All three of our children have now made a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus. It is sweet to see spiritual growth in their young lives. One of the great dangers in a Christian home is the tendency toward rules, routine, and religious activity…void of a relationship with Christ. This personal relationship must be cultivated every day. Offenses must be dealt with as it relates to their walk with the Lord. This is the highest motive and the only one that will last.
4. Now is the time to learn to pray.
Children get their prayers answered. I have often found myself doing all of the praying. Each family member must be encouraged to voice their petitions to God. As God answers specific prayers we can rejoice together as a family. It is when the children pray that I truly get a glimpse into their heart.
5. Media stifles imagination.
The constant drone of a television or the continual noise of a video game diminishes creative skills. In our world children do not have to think, to dream. Someone else does all of that for them; they are mere spectators. I am not even referring to “bad” content (we all agree that must be guarded). But there should be times when there is quiet. Children need to learn to play, to read, to enjoy being with others.
6. There is no substitute for the Word of God.
For all of the “lectures” I like to give, more and more I realize that the Bible speaks to every need in life. Our kids are old enough to read the Bible now. It is wonderful to hear them read the very words of Scripture. Many years ago Pastor Sexton developed Family Devotional Guides for each month of the year. This has been a helpful tool in our home. Reading the great stories of the Bible makes the Word of God come alive to children.
7. There is a time for laughter and a time for seriousness.
Both are important. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that there is a season for everything. Children sometimes do not know when to be serious. Adults sometimes do not know when to laugh. It is true that mature people must teach young people “to be sober minded” (Titus 2:6). Life cannot be one big game. There are things to be serious about. At the same time, we must never forget how to laugh and enjoy life.
These are truths the Lord is teaching me through my children. I am sure before this day ends there will be a dozen other things that could be added to the list. My prayer is that God would take this season of my life and help me to be more the father that He wants me to be.