The pressure to conform is enormous these days. Young people (teenagers), in particular, are targets of the “conform to the latest worldly philosophies and trends or be an intolerable outcast” mentality that permeates the culture. The easiest thing for our teens to do would be to just play along and fit in. But conformity to the world is a death trap, plain and simple. Therefore, Christian parents, and the church as a whole, must do everything possible to help our young people toward a radically different type of conformity.
As a teacher, I really appreciate when students come to Sunday school readily prepared for the morning. It greatly improves the classroom experience for both volunteers and students. Parents, here are a few simple things that can make a huge difference:
Five years ago, I never could have imagined this scenario: My young grandchildren going to an extended family gathering, which included a “transgender” woman (a biological woman who identifies as a man) who also happens to be “engaged” to a woman. Whatever happened to this basic truth,
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27
Parents, have you ever considered your parenting from this perspective?
Christians parent with one eye on eternity. Their children will live forever. This is a staggering thought…Therefore, the Christian does not parent for this life only. The believing parent labors to prepare each child for the day of judgment. The stakes are inexpressibly high…
Christian parents have one goal during this short window of opportunity. It is to transfer the baton of faith in Christ to the next generation. Victory does not always go to the fastest four-hundred-meter relay team. It goes to the team that most efficiently transfers the baton. No matter how fast the runners, if the transfer is slow and clumsy, the team will probably lose. In the same way, parents prepare their children for the day of judgment by transferring their faith, values, purposes, self-discipline, and motivations to their children.
(William P. Farley, God-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting, ©2009, page 41)
In Deuteronomy 6:6-7, Israel gathered to hear the word of the LORD spoken by Moses: “these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.“
The responsibility to teach Israel’s children was given to all of Israel, not just to parents. As King David put it several decades later, “One generation shall commend [God’s] works to another and shall declare [His] mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4). Today, we are the people of God, in Christ, who have been entrusted with the privilege and responsibility to invest in the faith of the generations. Deuteronomy 6 gives us direction for how to fulfill this calling and responsibility:
Summer provides parents with a wonderful opportunity to explore great parenting resources. Equipping for Life—A Guide for New, Aspiring & Struggling Parents by Andreas and Margaret Köstenberger is one of those resources. The book is written around three basic themes: Parenting needs to be realistic, relational, and responsible. These themes are fleshed out from a Bible-based, God-centered, gospel-focused perspective, giving practical examples from everyday life to which parents can relate.
Parents, what comes to mind when you think about “family devotions”? Does it include regular times set apart for your family read Scripture? Prayer? Worship in song? Formal Bible instruction with age-appropriate resources? Yes, all these things may characterize family devotions. And all serve to benefit our children as we instruct them in what is most important.
We often ask children what they want to be when they grow up. What are they aspiring to? What do they want to achieve? As parents, we also have desired outcomes for their lives—what we want them to be—and devote various resources and time toward achieving those outcomes. Think of the many hours we set aside for our children’s academic, sports, musical achievements, etc. However, we must never lose sight of what is most important for their lives—what they NEED to be more than anything else—and prioritize this above all other endeavors.
I learned a big chunk of life while riding along in vehicles with my parents. Our blue and brown Pinto station wagon was a mobile classroom of sorts for me and my brothers as our parents drove along the country roads surrounding our hometown in Washington, NC, including the 10 mile stretch into town and the 20 mile trek to church. Whether it was our full-spirited family conversations or the many times that my brothers and I would just listen in on our parents talking, we were a captive audience to observations about life, work, challenges, relationships, and faith.
Dads, as 2019 is kicking off, how’s your schedule looking? As various work commitments, travel plans, and children’s activities fill up slots, have you been able to protect time for what’s most important?