Over At the Well today there is a fantastic post about Parenting While Thinking Ahead. It is an encouragement to all parents to prepare their children and also themselves for the children to be independent one day.
There were some discussion ideas to ponder:What do YOU do to prepare your kids for their future, and to prepare yourself for your kid’s growth into adulthood? How do you keep yourself from thinking of them merely as your kids or babies, but as separate people who will one day leave their father and mother (you) and cleave to a husband or wife?
Isn't it amazing how fast time flies? It seems like just yesterday I was holding a newborn son. Then the busyness of life set in and my life turned into chasing a toddler, pre-school library trips while juggling a new baby, the beginning of school, sports activities, another baby and then out of nowhere that little guy is walking on a stage receiving his high school diploma. WHERE did the time go? I'm not ready for this!
These thoughts have bombarded me for the last few years. The countdown is here and now and I am currently a parent of an adult and a teenager well on his way to adulthood There is a struggle within to hold them close and lament....I'm not ready for this, where did the time go...etc. but the reality is that time is going by - FAST and they are well on their way to independence and establishing their own lives.
God's Word encourages us as parents to "Train up a child in the way he should go,..."Proverbs 22:6 and to "bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4. Training is something that is done over and over to accomplish a specific purpose. For our children, that purpose is for them to become responsible and productive members of society. As Christian parents it should be our intended goal to train our children to become a Christian adult, faithful and obedient in the ways of the Lord, filled with integrity and the fruit of the Spirit and prepared to carry a new generation forward in the ways of the Lord.
This type of training occurs through daily life - here and now. Most importantly it is modeled before the children in the home and then later it is chiseled through life experiences.
The mindset of the parents plays a key role in this process. Through each new "big" experience I would first cringe. Mowing the grass on their own, chopping wood, etc. would make me nervous. "What if they got hurt"? Then we moved on to bigger things such as driving a car, learning to pull a trailer, pulling a boat, etc. That nagging fear for safety and wanting to keep them sheltered got jolted with the Lord speaking into my heart about my attitude. If I continued sheltering them, how would they learn to do these tasks as men? I was not helping to equip them, but with my anxiety I was hindering the natural progression of growth and maturity. Each new experience they gain at home, equips them with a new skill that is needed in their adult life. It makes me especially happy when these skills are gained under Daddy's watchful care!
Since the opposite of fear is faith, I want to go with faith. Faith that God sees them, knows them and loves them even more than I do. He can do more to protect them, lead and guide them and open doors for them. God alone is with them in the times of trial, hurt and temptation. They must learn on their own to depend on God as their source when all else fails.
There are still some qualities that I want to see grow in their lives. This is a long list that includes characteristics such as honesty, faithfulness, integrity, kindness, wisdom, patience and on and on we can go. Through prayer and example this type of training comes. Positive encouragement is a must for development and a steadfast faith and believing in them puts the wind in their sails. If we don't believe in them, they won't believe in themselves.
May our prayer as parents be to be strengthened and filled with wisdom to teach, to train and equip our children through every age. May we set our sights on making the most of each moment while keeping an eye on the goal of continuing a legacy unto the Lord.