In the message yesterday I shared five ideas from our lives that we believe will help prepare kids for the times when they gain freedom. The hope is that they will love Jesus, learn to live under His authority and the authority of God’s Word, and that they will pursue God’s will and His call on their lives. Here are the five ideas that I shared. But what I hope will happen is that lots of you will jump in on the discussion and add ideas from your family, or that you have read, or that you have seen. I’d love to see this blog have twenty or thirty responses which would give parents and families a long list of ideas for leading kids in this way.
1. Love your spouse. For those who are still married, nothing will go farther in giving kids a sense of belonging and love than having mom and dad flirt, chase each other around the house, kiss in front of them… Of course, they act embarrassed, but the truth is that their seeing parents love each other will help them feel safe as they push away. This is the ideal, but there are some who have gone through the tragedy of divorce. In these cases, I would encourage parents to realize that they can love someone with the love of Christ even if romantic love is not in the equation. Show grace, and honor the parent of your children.
2. Traditions that are tied to religious affections – find family traditions, especially at holidays that help kids see the love of God and grows their love for God. The book Treasuring God in our Traditions (purchase or even read online here) by Noel Piper is a good resource.
3. Have rites of passage – I found it interesting that the NBC Today Show made this point for me this morning. The story told about the impact parental involvement and rites of passage around driving actually increase the safety of teen drivers significantly. The idea of rites of passage is that it is good for kids to wait for important things in life, for parents to do work with the kids in preparation, and then celebrate their cross over into more freedom. Rite of passage celebrations (and waiting) can include issues like a girl getting ear rings or wearing makeup, a purity weekend near the start of middle school, and maybe an adventure trip with teens before they go away to college.
4. Reading with kids – especially reading that will help them spiritually. Here are some types of books to read:
- Of course, read the Bible with them in age appropriate translations
- Read Christian biographies
- Apologetics books – there are several good books that are written for preteens and teens including The Case for a Creator, The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel. Buy two copies and read them simultaneously, then discuss each chapter.
- Christian classics – like the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis or Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.
5. Do missions with your kids – take them on mission trip, find local mission projects, serve in a soup kitchen… Another great idea is to begin a missions savings account for your kids so that you can give them an international mission trip somewhere around their junior or senior year of high school.