When my family and I first moved back from Europe and settled into San Jose, my hopes and dreams for my daughters were that they would make new friends quickly at their new schools. A reasonable hope for any mom or dad, right?
The first few weeks went great until it came time to having friends over. My youngest daughter kept telling me her friends weren’t allowed to come over. I admit, at first I took it personal, wondering if we’d been deemed “unacceptable company” for some bizarre and unknown reason, but as we settled more and more into life in Silicon Valley I began to see it was something far different.
Even at my youngest daughter’s level of third grade, many of her 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 even allowed to do so on weekends. They had to keep to their work and studies.
This phenomenon is growing epidemic here in Silicon Valley and I believe affects much of society today. It’s all 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 can’t relax, enjoy life and understand rest.
And here’s a thought that just came to mind. What if the growing rate of bullying has something to do with children being stressed out, maxed to the gills with activities that they have no time to just be a kid and have time to distress, just like we need to as adults.
Otherwise we forget how to relax and rest our mind. And when we forget how to do that, we have a hard time hearing God. 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 still and know God. And the younger they grasp this, the better they will be at making their own choices as teenagers and adults.
Just recently I’ve been asking God about children and worship. How do we teach our children how to worship God? I attended a special worship service the other night that was so full of the Holy Spirit that you could feel His presence in the room. I looked around for the children there, because I wanted to see what they did. I saw one grandmother holding a toddler. As this older woman raised her free hand and sang her worship, the little girl watched her, turned her head to the front of the room and tentatively raised her arm too.
And there was my answer. We model worship. We model what it means to pursue God. We model what it means to walk in the Holy Spirit.
Our children need this 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 those. Our children need time to be still and know God.
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 lets 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 that will ultimately provide in this life as well.
Even though my girls are grown, I want to model a worshiping lifestyle for them. And I look forward to one day holding my own grandchild in church and showing her (or him) what worship looks like, what standing before God with expectation looks like, and showing her how God is in every detail if we just look for Him. I want them to learn as a child what I didn’t learn until I was an adult.
As mothers and fathers 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. 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. As I heard one speaker say recently, imagine how much ground we could cover if each generation didn’t have to start from the beginning.
My friends, I am hungry to hear your thoughts on this. Share examples of how you handle this with your children, how you teach them about prayer and how to listen and look for God’s answers. Our comments will help each other learn new ideas and see potential ideas we hadn’t even considered.
And most of all, remember that God is so faithful. We won’t be perfect mothers, but Jesus is the Perfect Friend and Savior to our children. He takes what we offer and multiplies it to be more than enough. Every prayer you pray for your children is part of the legacy you are building and part of their future. The prayers of the righteous (a.k.a. moms and dads saved by Jesus!) are powerful and effective! (James 5:16)
Love you so much, my friends!
Share your voice, heart and love in the comments.
Marching Around Jericho is a spiritual guide. As you read through the pages, powerful and transformative instruction and equipping takes place. We follow Jesus as he leads us around the walls, imparting kingdom truths with each passing, finally arriving at the gates of the walled-off city, our spouse’s unbelieving heart. After the circles in prayer are complete, we arrive fully prepared to command the walls to crumble and be removed, making a way for our spouse to step from the rubble of lies and captivity, into faith and freedom!