So, this past week two of my children had birthdays. Me, being the big softy that I am, felt rather emotional about both of them. There is a part of me that wishes my kids didn't have to grow up at all. While I worry about what kind of world they will be living in once they reach adulthood. Mostly I know that there will come a day when they just don't need me the way that they do now and that scares me!
While I was happy and sad about both birthdays, there was one that hit me a whole lot harder than the other. Our oldest daughter, Nevaeh, just officially entered the double digits. She is officially the big 1 - 0!
Don't let the picture above fool you...I was not a happy dad. Not at all. Not even a little bit. Not even a smidgeon. Wait, is "Smidgeon" a word? My spell checker says it isn't but I don't always believe it.
Anyway, back to my point. My kids are growing up on us and I am not thrilled about it. But, I can't stop it either. Growing up is a part of life and I have to do my best to deal with it. Good thing for us, the bible let's us in on just exactly how we can do just that.
Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV) 6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
While our kids are still young, we can keep ourselves from sitting around worrying by getting busy training. Since everyone loves lists, just check the Internet, below is my list of 3 things we can do to train our children up in the way they should go.
Not only should we pray for our kids but we should teach them to pray for themselves. Every night before bed, we pray with our kids. We say the same prayer, it is one that I wrote myself. I included certain things that I wanted our kids to learn. My wife has also written a prayer of declaration, one for the girls and one for the boys, that she goes through with them every night.
2. Presence over Presents
My wife and I love to spoil our kids when we are able. We love them and want to give them things that we know they will enjoy. For example, our son Caleb loves legos. Because of that, I may have gone a wee bit overboard this past Christmas by getting him 4 large lego sets. As much as we enjoy doing that, what we love doing even more is spending time with them. We make a conscious effort every day to give each of our children some one on one time with each of us. It isn't always easy and we aren't always successful but we make the effort. Our children can always use more of us before they get more stuff.
3. Love them FULLY
We love our children with all of our hearts. Because we care about them so much, we discipline them. Being parents means that we must be more than our children's friends. It means that we have to go above and beyond mere friendship to ensure that they are ready for adulthood. Truly loving our kids means that at some point I have to bring discipline to them so they will understand healthy boundaries.
My wife and I have found those 3 things to be invaluable to training up our children in the way they should go. If you have any tips or ideas feel free to comment and let us know!
Phillip Reed is the Associate Pastor of Faith Chapel Ministries. His passion is to reconcile the lost to their Heavenly Father.