Do you wonder ,like I do, just how to raise up kids to be kind, imaginative, whole-hearted, passionate, loving individuals… in this volatile, media-influenced, high-tech, sex-obsessed, fast-paced world?
Every day, our children have to walk through a mine field of choices, which come down to this: are they going to choose the dark side of life, or the light? They are bombarded with missiles flying left and right, over and under.
They need protection, but how do we do that?
It starts in the home, where we have this amazing opportunity to build them up from the day they are born , speaking truth into their lives so they are fully equipped for the challenges that lie ahead.
- about a Heavenly Father that crafted them personally, specifically, to be exactly who they are.
- that they are here for a purpose that only they can fulfill.
- that the world would not be the same without them in it.
- that they are needed, loved, and cherished.
- that they have gifts that are precious and need to be shared with the world.
When they are old enough, help them to find a way to give back to the world. Adopt a child from far away and write to them. Volunteer at the Humane Society. Make baskets of food for the needy. Make a lemonade stand and give the money raised for water in Africa. There are millions of ways to give, and it doesn’t have to be far away. Helping an elderly person with their groceries, or shoveling a neighbor’s driveway, has enormous positive impact on the soul. For a child to know he or she made a difference, can make all the difference in their lives. It doesn’t have to be something huge. Doing little, random acts of kindness every day changes our body chemistry, increasing endorphins – and literally fills the world with love, thereby, increasing the sum total of love and peace in the world. Kindness has a ripple effect like a stone thrown into the pond; its far-reaching waves spread out beyond what we dreamed possible.
Teach your children that they are loved by a God who created them perfectly to glorify him, by using the unique gifts He gave them. Encourage them to develop their passions and to use their gifts as a light in the darkness. And to have fun doing it!
Teach them to love themselves, not for anything they do, but simply because they exist, and were chosen to be in this world at this time. Though we, as parents, may need to correct them at times, give them the message that we know they are being the best selves they can be at any given moment… and that they are forgiven. In fact, there is nothing to forgive, because God will use everything in their lives for Good. There are no mistakes in God’s world. We can share our own lessons with them, demonstrating that we can all learn, and grow.
Help them to have compassion, to love others and understand that there is more to life than themselves. Lead by example and teach them to put themselves in another person’s shoes, to feel that person’s pain, to listen with their hearts, and to help when they can. When they feel another being’s circumstance, and they know each person’s value in the eyes of God, they will have the courage to stand tall for what is right: stop the bullies, befriend the lonely, feed the starving, spread God’s love. Love heals. Love wins. Love is the greatest gift.
No one ever told me that raising up kids would cause me a lifetime of roller coaster emotions. One minute you are so in love, and the next minute you find yourself breathing deeply and counting to ten, so you don’t slap them silly.
Each day holds a new adventure.
Just last week my boys decided, unbeknownst to me, that it would be fun to walk across the water that they assumed was frozen. The inevitable happened and one fell in. Then as the other attempted to help, he too fell in. In no time we had three boys in the freezing water. Half an hour later, frozen, full of mud and with their cell phones totally destroyed, we thankfully and only by the Grace of God, got everyone out of the water and into a warm bath.
When the dust settles, its so easy to want to yell “WHAT were you thinking!! Do you have a brain in there?” or some derogatory comment that is never helpful. I have found that I can never start the learning process when my boys are on the defense. They are wired for battle, so I breathed and after first I told them how much I loved them. Then I reminded them of how great our God is and how we should all thank him that the tide was low and the water only chest-deep. Then, I laid down the law about walking on ice…..using my best teaching tool: a curly pink wig with my funny nose glasses on. It always get their attention when I am talking and this with boys is a miracle. Hey, whatever works!
Raising up kids…..it’s never a dull moment (especially as a MOB – Mother of  Boys) and it is one of the greatest gifts. You glorify God by simply doing the best you can, and learning as you go. It’ll be all right, no matter what transpires, no matter what “mistakes” you feel you’ve made. Both you and your child are in God’s hands; there are no mistakes. God uses everything for Good.