Success as a parent isn't keeping your children under your roof. We've all seen adult children who are still living at home and it is not associated with success.
Success is releasing your children not retaining them.
Our job is to prepare our children for the real world. So how can we prepare children for the real world? Let's examine a few of the big ticket items that are musts if you want to see children thrive in the real world.
1. A growing relationship with Jesus. God doesn't have grandchildren, He only has children. We must help kids understand what it means to follow Jesus and show them how to enter a relationship with Him. This is our number one job.
Everything else hinges on this. As they establish a relationship with Jesus, it will change the course of their entire life here on earth and their eternity in the next life.
As I have shared in some previous posts, we must help kids clearly understand what it means to be a Christ-follower. A great way to do this is through the Starting Point class, which helps kids and their parents make a solid decision to follow Jesus. You can get more info. about it at this link.
2. Why they believe the Bible is true and totally accurate. Our kids are going to face people who do not believe the Bible is true and that it is not the Word of God. We must prepare kids to be able to defend why they believe the Bible is true.
3. Character. If we want to prepare kids for the real world, then we must teach and model what it means to walk with character and integrity. This will help them stand out and do well in their jobs and relationships. If your children are young, sit down and make a list of character traits you want to see them walk in when they leave for college. And start now pouring those traits into their life.
4. A Biblical world view. Equip children with the right lens to look through. This will help them look at everything through a Biblical lens. This is one of the most important things you can do as a parent for your children. Our world view effects our decisions, outlook and lifestyle.
5. Stand for Jesus. I'm hearing the old song in my head now as I am typing this. It's "stand up, stand up for Jesus, you soldiers of the cross." We must help our kids understand who Jesus is. His life here on earth. His miracles. His teachings. His death. His burial. His resurrection. Why He is the Son of God. Why He is worthy of our praise.
6. What to say "no" to. Our children will face peer pressure. They will be tempted with vices. They will be pursued for inappropriate relationships. We must prepare them for what God says about these things and instill in them the courage to say "no." Which flows right into the next point...
7. What to say "yes" to. Being a follower of Jesus is not just about making a list of things you are not going to do. It's about saying "yes" to following Jesus. Its about living to please Him instead of the temptations that come our way. We must help children understand that it's not just about obeying "rules." It's about saying "yes" to things that are so much better. "Yes" to a relationship with Jesus. "Yes" to honesty. "Yes" to obeying God's Word. "Yes" to choosing the right kind of friends. It's about helping kids say "yes" God's plan for their life.
8. Overcoming adversity. As parents, we must prepare our children for the times when they will face opposition. We must let them fail at times so they can learn to bounce back and persevere.
I recently read the story of a man named Ty. He was deployed to Iraq. After a few months, his fiance was delivered the following news. Ty and six other marines had been in an attack by a suicide bomber. He had sustained multiple wounds. His skull was shattered. His face, head and arms were burned beyond recognition. His left hand had to be amputated.
Since then he has undergone over 30 surgeries and physical therapy. He went on to marry his fiance who never left his side.
I guarantee you that Ty got that kind of courage and perseverance from parents and leaders who taught him how to not give up and overcome adversity.
The world kids are growing up in is far different than the world you and I grew up in. It takes courage to stand for Jesus and take a stand for what is right.
What are you teaching children by your words?
What are you teaching children by your actions?
What are you teaching children by your tenacity?
What are you teaching children by your own personal walk with Christ?
Your turn. What are some other things we must prepare kids for? How do you balance preparing kids for the real word while protecting them from temptation? Share your thoughts and insight in the comment section below.