I’m a mom that listens to other moms (well not all moms but quite a lot of moms) talk about how busy they are running around from here to there shuttling their children from one event to another. I know why they do it. We want the best for our kids. We are willing to sacrifice even our sanity to taxi them from place to place so that they can be cultured, well-rounded citizens. We do want to provide them the best because we probably think that if we do then we are doing our part in helping them to be the best they can be. Maybe that’s not you, but when I hear about and see frazzled moms discuss their day and fitting it all in…that is what I conclude. I say to myself, I will not be that mom. But then again, look at me. I do go around from place to place, “dragging” my children to and fro because …………. well because it’s for lots of reasons. Hmm…
In anything, it is good to take a step back and think about why we do what we do. Maybe the intentions were right but somewhere along the way we missed the point of it all. Nothing wrong with taking some time to regroup.
I love me a good question.
That’s why I believe questions are great. It provides an opportunity for one to respond. Do you know what’s even better than taking the time to honestly answer thought-provoking questions? Follow-up. Or some people call it “action steps.” Yup that’s right. What’s next? The ball’s in your court now so what will you do?
So, with that, I challenge you to consider these questions posed by our Youth Pastor today at our church service. I hope you will think these through and maybe even share your thoughts with your loved ones. Who knows? It just may change the future- for everyone.
” Yes, we do teach our children, and we try to make sure what we teach is orthodox Christianity, in line with the Scripture and history of the Church. But I think in many ways our teaching is incomplete in light of our current culture.
1. We’ve taught our kids what the Bible says, but have we taught them how to interact with the world, who does the opposite and doesn’t believe it.
2. We’ve taught our kids to tell the truth, but have we taught them how to handle a liar?
3. We’ve taught our kids that homosexuality is a sin, but have we taught them how to interact with their gay friends?…because they do have gay friends.
4. We’ve taught our kids that God exists, but have we taught them how to converse with their atheist friends?…because they do have atheist friends.
5. We’ve taught our kids to spend time in God’s Word, but do we spend time in God’s Word?
6. We’ve taught our kids to be kind, respectful, gentle, etc., but do we yell at our spouses or rant on social media?
7. We’ve taught our kids the importance of church, but we do we prioritize it over other activities?
8. We’ve taught our kids to be polite and considerate of others, but have we prepared them for a world that, despite their own actions, is not gonna reciprocate to Christians?
9. We’ve taught our kids about justice, righteousness, goodness, but have we also taught them that the world will hate us no matter what?
10. We’ve taught our kids to be trustworthy, but have we prepared them for a world that isn’t?
11. We teach our kids the attributes of God, but have we taught them that people are far from this?
12. We teach our kids not to be violent, but have you seen their video games?
13. We teach our kids to be sexually pure, but do we know what they are watching? And not just on TV, but on YouTube, Netflix, and more? Have we taken the simple step of installing blocking and accountability software to protect our sons eyes? Or do they have unfiltered access to the internet?
14. We teach our kids that God is our father, but have we realized that most of their perceptions of fathers are negative and negatively reinforced by our culture?
15. We teach our kids to be excellent, to strive to be the best, but have we provided an environment at home and in the church that allows them to safely fail and learn from it?”
… “We need to commit as families and the extended church family to be a place that when a struggling teenager [or anyone] walks through our doors, they know we still love them regardless of what they are struggling with. Their value, dignity, and identity is found in Christ, just as our is, not their weakness or failures.”
Pastor David Pinkham, Youth Pastor
The above is an excerpt of Pastor Pinkham’s sermon for “Youth Sunday.” He sent me this portion per my request (thank you); I couldn’t take notes fast enough! The entire message is now available for download here under Weekly Sermons -Pastor Pinkham -3 Jun 2018, “Why youth ministry?” Psalms 78:1-8.
What’s MY action step?
Well it’s to share these questions with you. When I heard these questions today, I thought these are some great questions to consider. I want the best for my children, of course I do. It’s why I do many of the things I find myself doing. But if I took the time to think about it, I question if somewhere along the way, have I missed the mark? Am I really preparing them to engage fully in this world as followers of Christ? If I am wrong, even off just a wee little bit could lead to failure. I know this because it’s happened to me in PLDC. When I was in the Army, one (of many) lessons I learned the hard way was the necessity of taking your time and reevaluating where you are. Assessments. After Action Reviews. Anyway, the task was to get myself from where I was to an unknown location using only my compass, a protractor and my legs to walk through the woods to get there and then mark the correct letters on my paper to show I made it to the correct spot. However, during this land navigation exercise even though I was given the right set of coordinates and the correct direction to go because I either didn’t take my time to plot well in the beginning or I veered off just a little bit and didn’t realize it- the further I walked, the further I found myself LOST and definitely NOT WHERE I INTENDED TO BE. Actually, I didn’t even know I wasn’t where I needed to be until it was over and my answer was marked incorrect. I failed. I learned many lessons through that exercise because it was the reason why I didn’t make commandant’s list and was in jeopardy of not passing if I received a another “no-go.” I was ashamed because I had everything else right. Everything else in that course I had done right and even excelled in. But it didn’t matter all the other things that I had done in the end if I missed the target.
This is somewhat similar to our parenting. We can do everything else “just right” and with great intentions armed with the best tools. But if we are not careful taking the time to reevaluate where we are along the way, we may one day look up and find ourselves – well our children- the next generation- completely lost and not at all where we/they intended to be.
- Read through those questions above and discuss them with your loved ones. Determine if you are indeed where you intended to be when it comes to raising the next generation. Are you still on the correct path God has for you and your children? Are you listening to God regularly about all of this? (I am talking to myself as I write this as well.)
- Invite others who think differently than you to respond to these questions. Perhaps their perspectives may shed light on areas you hadn’t considered but should.
- If you discover that you aren’t really where you intended to be and have derailed somewhere, what will you do to get back on track? Who will you share this information with to help keep you accountable? Who will lift you up in prayer about this as you move forward?
A free resource to consider:
The importance of raising up this next generation can be thought about and worked through with those around you using this resource called “Multiply” by Francis Chan and David Platt. On page 14 under the section titled “What You’re Working Toward” under “How to use this material” reminds us that “the goal is never knowledge for the sake of knowledge.” I know I raised my children to know the Lord and to know His word- the Bible. But that is not all. They also need to know (and I need to work with them in this) how trusting and following the Lord works out in our day-to-day life and I need to help them live that out. As Christ-followers (my target audience) it should be our goal “to spend your [our] life raising up followers [yes, this includes our children too] who will give everything for the glory of God.“ (pg. 14, Multiply) Please check it out here if you haven’t already.