"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 1:4
The husband sent me an article this morning about raising kids with character and if nothing else, it reminded us of how important it is to go to bat for the welfare of the hearts of our children. It was a wake up call of sorts- a reminder that we can't just sail through parenthood without a lot of intentionality and a lot of work, especially in this plugged-in, online, super connected world we live in. And the reminder actually made me grateful for the struggles that one of our children has had with fear in as much as it has focused us in prayer over his fledgling little heart. We'll do what we feel is necessary and appropriate to keep our children safe from the evils of this world, but just as important, and maybe more importantly, we will continue to employ what we DO know about parenting: above all else, we will guard our hearts and above all else, we will teach them how to guard theirs. (Proverbs 4:23)
After we read stories and say nightly prayers, I've been starting to ask the kids about their hearts. Is everything is ok? Is there is anything lingering? (A great habit I learned from Andy Stanley). I don't always remember to do it and they don't always understand what I'm asking, but I feel like it's a good starting point and an open door to communicating with them on real and important issues that might eventually weigh on their hearts and minds.
And, thank you Jesus, we're given some principles in scriptures that really help and that we can teach our kids as we practice them ourselves: Afraid? Trust is fear's anecdote. Greedy? Give generously. Jealous? Celebrate with others. Envious or discontent? Practice gratitude. Bitter or angry? Forgive as you have been forgiven.
So maybe we don't have a plethora of clear directives in scripture on how exactly to parent when it gets down to the nitty gritty, but at the same time, we have what we need. There are countless ways our children could fall prey to the ways of this broken world, but as parents, we must not be afraid, but trust that the God who has brought us this far will continue to lead and help and guide us on the path of parenting on which we are so often uncertain and unsure of ourselves. I certainly and for sure don't have all of the answers, but the Lord- who made our kids to begin with- certainly does. No doubt it will get really difficult at times- probably painfully so- but as we daily thank Him for what He's done and who He is and ask Him to continue to help us on the journey, He'll be faithful.
He always is and always has been.