The goal of each Christian parent is to see our kids come to faith in Christ. The danger is telling them that all they have to DO is say this or do that. Kids can come to Christ by saying a prayer or going forward. The danger is when we place our faith and trust in the thing we DID, rather understanding it’s through grace alone, through faith alone, through Christ alone. While salvation is a result of the Holy Spirit convicting us of our sin, causing us to verbally acknowledge Jesus as our Savior, compliant kids could just walk through the motions. Paul gives us evidence of faith – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Let’s pray God does a work in the hearts of our kids today.
Do you have a child who’s pretty sure of him or herself? While confidence is a good thing, conceit can be a very difficult problem. There’s a big difference in having confidence or being conceited. Confidence is a feeling of trust and firm belief in yourself or others. You can have that inward confidence and still be humble. But conceit is having an excessively favorable opinion of one’s abilities, appearance, etc. How do we mold that conceit into humble confidence? Sometimes it’s by modeling it for them, or pointing out humble, confident behavior. When conceit takes root in their hearts kids can fail to understand their sin and need of a Savior. Nip conceit in the bud and make humbleness a praiseworthy attitude.
This is a legitimate concern for many parents. Let’s face it, we’ve all heard some of the problems at camp. Some kids are bad influences. Counselors who may or may not have a strong relationship with Christ. What about theology? We can never be too sure of that can we? I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you the experiences we’ve heard about. Some young people develop a profound and long-lasting relationship with Christ and friends. It helps prepare our kids for independence in a slow controlled way. It also helps our ONLY kids to become more social. Here at Keys for Kids, we love Christian camp. It’s a tool God’s using to lead kids to Himself.
Ever had one of those days? I heard a couple of stories recently. One was about a first-time mom who walked away for a second. When she returned there was poop EVERYWHERE. The toddler used it as finger paint. Then, another story of a mom doing dishes. Dad giving the kids a bath, only to discover tootsie rolls in the water, grossing him out so badly he lost control of his stomach reflexes. The question was, how do we keep our kids from doing that. You don’t. It happens. Sometimes, though, our kids like our response and may try to get the reaction again. What’s the spiritual lesson? Patience. While our world seems to be horribly interrupted by these moments. This too shall pass.
Noelle asked recently, "How can we as parents and grandparents help our kids understand race? As in, there’s only ONE race -- the human race. There’s too much division going on in the country. Our biggest racial divide happens at 11 o’clock Sunday morning. How do we fix this?” Great question. Unfortunately sin complicates life. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone viewed us humans the way God does, humans who are equal before Him – sinners needing a Savior. Our “evolution-friendly” culture has programmed us (even the church) to think race is a skin color issue. Geneticists say any two people are only point-two percent different. Until the church starts preaching how God see us it may never change. Maybe, it should start with us.
A glass half empty. Sound familiar? I’m like that. It’s not that I don’t hope for the best. I do. But I want to be ready for the curveballs in life. I’m pretty sure it’s a control issue. For many of us ‘glass half empty’ people, we tend to be self-deprecating, and insecure. We don’t view ourselves too positively. As kids, it can lead to depression, feelings of failure, and a person who has a difficult time being motivated. How should we help our half empty kids? Remind them of what Paul tells us in Ephesians 2. As followers of Christ we are God’s masterpiece. Jesus himself said He loves Christ-followers as much as God loves Jesus. Think of that? Speaking that Truth is love.
There are many moms, dads, grandmas or grandpas who not only say these words, but their lives are a testimony to this. Families encouraging their kids to do as much as possible. Schedules are filled, sometimes to the detriment of spiritual growth and spousal unity. When does that priority on our kids become an idol in our lives? Just like anything else, when we allow our family to replace Christ as our soul source for strength and hope. Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even their own life – such a person can’t be my disciple.” Jesus is clear. HE is the center. That doesn’t mean ignore our family. It means prioritize.
Kathy is a single mom: "You're on your own. It's an overwhelming life in which you are the sole breadwinner, the doctor, the teacher, the psychologist, the chef, the pastor and the chauffeur. And then there's the jealousy of watching the absent parent excel because he or she has no responsibility, no inconvenience. It's the pressure of knowing that you are the only safety net that your children have, and all it takes is one bad day. It's a tightrope walk of faith." I'm not going to pretend I have answer, but turn to God. Remind ourselves God is our help, shield, defender, provider, sustainer and all-in-all. Then, don't be afraid to ask for help. God will provide--He always does.
You know as parents and grandparents we do our best to teach our kids to be good people. As Christ followers we want them to love God. Gail asks, “How do we teach them to own up to their offenses and ask for forgiveness?” well it’s easier for some kids than others. Teach them early, though. The easiest way is to demonstrate it. When we offend our kids or our spouse be vocal about it, asking for forgiveness. Admit it. Tell them what we did, how sorry we are and what we’re going to do to address it Then explain that this is a picture of salvation. We’ve got to admit that we’re sinners, that we need a savior and that in Christ we’re forgiven forever. Read scripture to reinforce that. Don’t forget, we’re not after moral kids. Our goal is Christ-followers.
It can be easy to do. Our teens act like they’re self-sustaining. They don’t say much when they’re home, but did you ever think they’re saying things like fifteen-year-old Elizabeth? “My parents sometimes give some extra time to my younger siblings. Sometimes I want to connect more with my parents and have extra time with them by myself.” When we’re dealing with toddlers and elementary aged kiddos we can fail to realize we’re losing touch with our teens! It’s important to spend one on one time with them because they’re only going to be around a few short more years. What then? Are we being proactive? Teaching them budgeting, car maintenance, cooking skills, spiritual disciplines and more that’s going to help form them. Make a date with your teen today.