My friends, what are your thoughts about this study so far? Is it helping you? Are there areas you want to talk about that we haven’t addressed yet? Let us know if you have more specific issues that we can address through this study.
Today I want to talk about helping our kids choose between good and God's best. I noticed way back when we first moved to California (Silicon Valley) when my daughters were in elementary and middle school. My oldest daughter found her footing in her new school quickly and made friends easily, thank goodness. She’d had a rough time in this area while we were living in Switzerland. My youngest, who had an easy time doing this during our time there, found herself struggling in her new CA school.
And part of the problem wasn’t even in her realm of control. It was the parents. Many of Leslie’s classmates went from school to homework as well as many other “scheduled activities” during the day, like music, language and even additional tutoring. These weren’t students who were struggling academically either. None had time to schedule a play date during the week and many weren’t allowed to do so on weekends either, because they had to keep to their work and studies. This was third grade and the pressure on these kids increased as they got older.
This phenomenon was a growing epidemic in Silicon Valley, which is very multi-cultural, and still continues as the norm. I believe it affects much of society today too as part of the “get ahead” mentality. Unfortunately, these kids are growing up knowing all work and no play. They have no concept of what it means to relax, play and rest. And they’re growing up to be adults who find it difficult to enjoy times of rest and challenging to enjoy life without constant activity.
I’m not saying these activities are bad for our children. What I’m saying is, we need to leave some room for them to rest, to be in God’s creation, to be kids. And the younger they grasp this, the better they will be at finding balance in their lives as teenagers and adults.
Just this week I listened to a speak say we’ve lost about ability to discern in the church. That nailed it on the head and it’s one of the enemy’s most successful tactics. If he can keep us too busy to listen to God, we lose our ability to discern too. When we forget how to relax and rest our mind, we have a hard time hearing God, making wise decisions and we even hamper our creativity.
Our children need down time to understand and learn how to listen for God’s quiet voice. They need to know that God is responsive to those who seek Him with an open heart, and they need to hear and see examples of how God answers. Our children need time to be still and know God (Psalm 46:10).
In this day and age, our children seem required to do more in order to keep up with the world as they get older, but let’s not do that at the expense of their spirituality. More than anything they need in this world, they need to understand the value of eternity and kingdom living—that these are the better pursuit, which will ultimately provide in this life as well as the next.
As parents we are legacy builders. We want our children to launch into this world with a strong faith and a hunger for God that will continue to grow and impact those around them. I know a lot of this we have to discover as we go, but I’d love to see my daughters and grandchildren learn some of this a lot sooner than I did.
So how do we do this, you’re probably asking and wondering. First, Moms and Dads, you set the pattern. Are you doing this yourself? Do you have a time that you spend to just be quiet with God and pray? If you find your day is too packed, ask God to show you where to make room. Be willing to let go of something if necessary, but above all, trust God to show you time during your day to meet with Him. A wise woman once told me that if you “tithe” 10% of your time to Him, He’ll make sure you get the rest done in the 90% that’s left.
She was right. Didn’t make sense at all at first, but over the years this has proven true time after time. God even told me once in detail how to change my schedule to make it work. He’ll do this for you too, my friends. And why wouldn’t He want to and do whatever necessary to help you make it work? He’s your Abba, Father, and loves spending time for you. He’ll move heaven and earth to do it too.
He’ll do this for your kids too. So as school starts and the list of activities begin to grow, as more and more opportunities present themselves, as your budding daughter and son seems to have a growing social life, help them see that even in the midst of a see of good things, we need to choose wisely so that we can enjoy fully what is God’s best for us instead of being spread so thin that we’re just tasting the tip of His goodness for us.
Two great activities clearly shaped for our child’s unique gifting and design is WAY better than four okay activities that they do because they think they have to.
They’ll need your help to discern (there’s that word again) the difference, but if you’re setting the example of saying, let’s take a moment and pray into this and trust God to give us an answer by the morning—or the end of the day, week, etc.—you will be teaching your child to take time to pray, to seek wisdom and to discern God’s voice.
And that is by far a greater gift you can give them than anything else they would attain in this world, my friends. Greater by far.
Question: Consider your child’s daily schedule (yours too, Moms and Dads). What seems to be the priority most days? Do adjustments need to be made? What do you think God is telling you about it?
Prayer: Lord, give me courage and guidance to follow Your leading as I pray for wisdom, words and strength to teach my children to make good choices. Equip me each day to walk faithfully in my calling as a parent, and show me how to rely on Your strength, Lord, and not my own. Show me the unique gifts that You have given my children, and help me lead them in how to use those gifts for Your glory. Help me to recognize the potential You have placed in my children and to inspire them to be who You created them to be. In the mighty name of Jesus, amen!
SUMites, hug your kids and tell them they are AWESOME! Tell them you are with them all the way and so is God!