One of the things I hear parents say more than anything else is "time just flies by." I hear parents of one year olds say it. I hear parents of young adults say it. Its one of these things that when you are young you don’t really understand but the older you get the more you realize how brief our time on earth really is. Lately I’ve been regularly fielding questions from parents about how to lead their children towards Christ in a healthy way. There are so many things I would want to cover if we were in a conference or symposium forum but today I will simply offer some practical advice for leading your children.Let me first briefly begin with a Biblical foundation.God instituted family in Genesis. One of His first commands to Adam and Eve is to be fruitful and multiply. God wanted them to be intimate in their marriage and for them to become parents. Intimacy births multiplication. There is another message in that we will save for another day. Deuteronomy 6 is a beautiful picture of God’s plan for parenting. In a nutshell, your daily life should be filled with you talking and teaching your kids about the truth of God and how He saved you. Yes, you should constantly be telling your testimony to your kids! Isn’t that powerful? I could go on and on but let me give you a handful of practical things to lead your children well.
We only get one shot at it and time is flying by. Let’s make the most of every moment.
- Lead Yourself: The most effective way to lead our children is by example. If you can’t control your temper, why should you expect them to? 2 Cor. 3.3 tells us that the Spirit of living God has written His law and truth on our hearts. You are the tablet they are reading and learning from, so lead well.
- Lead by Principle and Grace: Jesus is the perfect example. It was never about, is this a moment to come down on principle or on grace? Jesus acted fully on both. Sometimes the greatest grace we have in our lives are holy rules/laws. The toughest situations are answered with both principle and grace. Be led of the Spirit in your teaching and discipline.
- Lead Humbly and Honestly: Say you’re sorry when you’re wrong. Be willing to share the honest truth even when its hard. This will teach them repentance and dealing with issues head on.
- Lead by Listening: As a child gets to pre-teen and teenage years the most common complaint from a child is that “My parents never listen to me.” More than they want the next toy, they want you to listen to them. Start this habit for them and you early on and make it a priority on your schedule to spend alone time with them just to talk and more importantly, listen.
- Lead with Quantity and Quality: The average father spends 7 minutes per day talking to his children. Dad, you may not have lots of time every day but everything else seems to find itself on your schedule except your kids. The quantity is higher for moms but can be very guilty of having quantity without quality. Turn the phone off. The laundry can wait. The emails can wait. Turn off your notifications because time is flying by.