Posts Tagged ‘children’

I Learn From Others Who Look Back

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I was reading Think Orange, by Reggie Joiner today and in the book the author gives a list of things he feels is important for his kids.  Here’s what he writes:

I have read hundreds of books, attended dozens of conferences, and had thousands of hours of conversations with parents smarter than I am, yet I am still amazed at how quickly I can lose perspective.  I recently sat down to summarize for myself what I want to remember, just so I could stay focused.  I am not suggesting this is a comprehensive list; it is just my list:

  • What matters more than anything is that my kids have an authentic relationship with God.
  • All my children need to know I will never stop pursuing them or fighting for a right relationship with them.
  • My personal relationship with God and with my wife affects them more than I realize.
  • Just being together can never substitute for interacting together in a healthy way.
  • A mother and a father are not the only adult influences my children need.

After I wrote these phrases and reread them, I realized a common thread ties them together.  They are connected by the value of relationships.  These are matters of the heart.  At this time in my life, all four of my children are moving through their college years and into adulthood.  As I review the past and look forward to what’s ahead, these statements seem to transcend every season of our experience together.  I wish I had written them down twenty years ago and thought about them more frequently.

The sad truth is that more often than not, we look back on our past with regrets.  We regret not being more available to our children, not making the most of every opportunity to speak with them rather than at them.  We wonder where the time went and how did they grow up so fast.  I don’t want to live with regrets when it comes to my children.  I’ve got enough regrets already, I can’t afford to have them with my kids as well…

In reading Reggie’s list I am moved to create my own list.  One that I will think about often.  One that I will put into practice.  My children are too important to not do this.

Delights Of My Desire

This morning I was journaling in Proverbs and I came across one particular proverb in chapter 29, verse 17.  This one verse brought to light an epiphany for me as I contemplated what would bring the delights I desire.  The verse goes like this:

 

Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.

As a father there is only one thing that I truly desire for my children – that they would follow the Lord faithfully and pursue what He calls them to do.  Whether they marry the person of their dreams, get the job they hope for, live in riches or poverty – that really is of no matter to me, only that they would whole-heartedly follow the Lord.  I know that if they do this one that they will walk into the right relationships, find the right career, and have all that they need.

I know that the way I discipline my children will be a determining factor in how they grow and make choices.  I want to not only discipline them well when necessary but also instill within them disciplines.  I want them to grow in their knowledge of God’s Word and understand how much He loves them, seek Him through prayer, and find their purpose in Him.  These are the things that would bring delights to my desires.  In order to see this come to pass I need to remain available to my children at all times to guide them in the ways that they should go.

If I could offer any advice to other parents it would simply be that your desires for your children would be to grow in the Lord and to follow Him faithfully.  All the other things are fluff in comparison.  I back up this statement with the Scripture in Matthew chapter 6 verse 33 that encourages us to “seek first, the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you.”   When we follow the Lord all the other stuff – health, relationships, careers, personal needs – they get taken care of.  

Let’s not be afraid to discipline our children.  The cost of not doing so is too great.

1,000,000 Children Sponsored

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Just read this over at Shaun Groves Shlog.  Compassion International has announced that they now have reached 1,000,000 children being sponsored.  All I can say is, “Awesome!”

Set Them Free

My daughter and I were driving down the road the other day listening to an old Sting CD in the car.  The song, “If you love somebody, set them free” came on.  I was singing along and embarrassing my 9 year old…

The song line came on,

If you wanna keep something precious, you’ve gotta lock it up and throw away the key.

and my daughter stopped me.  “I’m precious.  If you lock me up we won’t be able to be together.”  Words of wisdom from a young woman…  I thought more about the words to this song and realized how much the song talks about our innate ability to mess things up.  Not only the things that we do, but the things around us.  The bottom line is that we can really mess up the “precious” things in our lives.  I lose my cool with my daughters some times – true story – and I ruin a bit of their innocence.  My reaction to them at times causes them to harden themselves to keep from getting hurt.  

If I want to keep them precious I need to lock them away in order to keep myself from destroying the things that I love most – I see this.  But I also see how that is a weak method of protection from myself.  Why don’t I do the hard work that is required to change my responses?  Why can’t I strive to soften my heart towards some of the mistakes that they make?  How can I have both?  Precious kids AND time with them.

We owe it to the people that we care most about to respond to them in love.  To correct with compassion and empathy.  I want to enjoy my daughters, not lock them up to protect them from a harsh world.  My responses to them can set them free with love rather than lock them up in heartache and pain.  This is something that we can all work on…