Make Memories

A question that I’ve been asking myself lately when it comes to raising our kids is, “what memories will they have of me?” When my children are grown and looking back on their childhood, what memories will they cherish? What memories will teach them, mold them, and shape them into the men and women they are then? How am I being intentional in the memories that they have?

Reading in Proverbs, you will come along this passage that every parent knows. Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Though never before had I looked at it from this perspective. Our memories and experiences shape us. But how are we as parents making sure that we are shaping our children the best we can to be obedient followers of Jesus? I by no means claim to be an expert, but here are a few things that we are making sure we do as a family.

1. Take Them With You. We believe that if we want our kids to be great servants of Jesus, this means they come along. When I do a hospital visit, or hang door hangers, or even go on a mission trip, we want to bring our children along. We want them to see what it is like to serve Jesus. That they experience daddy and mommy serving King Jesus and they remember what it was like to do so. For some parents, this is really difficult because they are concerned with schedules and other things, but let me ask you this question, isn’t it worth it to keep your kid up an extra hour so they can see you love Jesus?

2. Intentional On What We Say. In Deuteronomy we see Moses telling them to speak of the Law of the Lord with their kids. To teach them. This means as a parent, I am looking for opportunities to talk to my kids about God’s Word. Helping them see how it applies to my day to day life. This also means that I am intentional about what I am putting inside of me, that I am spending time in God’s Word.

3. Make A Plan. This one is the hardest for me, but most essential. What is the vision for my family? Where do I want them to be in a year? What do I want them to experience in a year? These are questions you need to ask in order to come up with a plan to be intentional of accomplishing those visions. You must know the direction that you want to go as a family, how are you molding them, what are the steps you need to take? In order to produce disciples, you must have a plan.

I know this list is not exhaustive, but if you have any other things you would add, put it in the comments!

Intentional Discipleship

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

The primary discipler of your child is you. God has called you to be the biggest spiritual influence in your child’s life. We’ve looked in previous posts about parenting, about being a grace filled parent, but this one I want us to look at that discipleship with children is to be intentional.

Train up a child. To train someone is to be intentional about what you teach them. In the work place this is coming up with a plan to make sure to produce the best employee that you can produce. In children this is being strategic in teaching your child what it means to follow Jesus. You are helping your child be trained in the way that they should go, to follow Jesus in their lives.

Even when he is old he will not depart from it. This promise is something that is difficult. For several parents out there they feel like they have done all they could to help their child follow Jesus and it seems like they have not continued down this path. In a later post we are going to deal with this issue, but for our purpose today, we are looking at the influence that you have on your children. That when you teach your children what it means to follow Jesus, they follow your influence.

As parents we have to make sure that we are intentional about how we teach and spend time with our children. We have to be intentional on what we teach. They are listening, they are watching, what are you teaching?

The Ideal Family

Currently, our church is going through a series called “The Ideal Family”. At the start of this series we looked at the only perfect family to ever exist, Adam and Eve. We find in Genesis their story, of how they lived and also their fall from being the ideal family.

In Genesis 1, we see the creation of man, his mandate, and his job to fill. Genesis 1:28-30 “28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.”

God created man and gave him the “cultural mandate”, the mandate to first, be fruitful and multiply. To have children and lots of children. For mankind to fill the earth and to subdue it. In culture today we see a lot of leaders claiming that we are to stop having children. One politician is even stated that because of climate change we are to seriously question if we should have children. Christians should respond to this with understanding our mandate as Christians. Scripture speaks of children as a blessing and a responsibility that we are to have. For the couple that is biologically unable to have children and for those that can, adoption is something else as Christians that we should prayerfully consider (more to come later). God has called families to have children, it’s a good and godly thing to have children.

Mankind is to also exercise dominion and to take care of the earth. As stewards of God’s earth, we have a responsibility to take care of it. This means that we are responsible for the resources that are available to us, that we make sure that we are doing all that we can to preserve it. This in and of itself is not a religion that we must take upon ourselves as many in our culture do, but rather a responsibility of good stewardship. This was the calling that was given to mankind, for Adam and Eve to do, but it didn’t take long for it all to go wrong as we will look at in our next post.

As Christians, we must take seriously our mandate, to fill the earth, to subdue it. We should also take seriously the mandate that was given to us by Christ in Matthew 28:18-20 “28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.” We are commanded to make disciples, this means to make disciples of those children that we have under our care. I know that this goes completely contradictory of our culture, but as Christians, we are not called to live completely in sync with the culture, rather, we are called to live under the guidance of God’s Word and His Commands. 

Parental Identity

Who am I? Where do I find value? These are two questions that we must ask ourselves. Especially true when it comes to being a parent. For many parents, their identity is wrapped up completely in the performance, behavior, and success of their child. Go to any ball field or any after school club and you are bound to see the parents that find their identity in the child’s performance. When they score a goal, the parent’s erupt in cheer, when the ref makes a bad call, the parent has to be held back from trying to physically harm the referee. This identity is one that is bound to crumble and fall.

First, your children are not capable of bearing that type of weight. Their shoulders were not meant to carry around with them your identity crisis and unrealistic expectations of performance, no one is for that matter. Children are trying to work out their own understanding of God, the world, and just getting good grades for that matter. To try and add, live up to parents’ unrealistic expectations for their personal identity crisis should not be high on their priority list.

The place that parents, and everyone for that matter, need to find their identity is in the One who gave them identity in the first place. When we find our identity in creation rather than the Creator, we are bound to have an identity crisis. Creation was never meant to give identity, rather to point to the one that does. Look at 2 Peter 1:3-4 “3His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, 4by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

We have been called by God and given power to participate in Him. That through His promises you can be partakers of his divine nature, and I love the last part, escape the corruption of the world, in other words, escape the identity in the world. Mom, Dad, Grandparent, caretaker, your identity can only be found in Christ alone. He is the one that gives you the identity as child of God. He says come to Him in Matthew 11:28-30, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,]by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 

This is where we find our identity as parents. When Little Johnny strikes out or the referee makes a bad call, your identity is not found in the performance of Little Johnny. Little Johnny gets to wrestle with failure without the weight of your identity on him. He learns to trust in his own identity and not try to perform and carry yours.