It is my priority that my children grow up knowing about God and that they have an idea how to walk in His ways, not just because it is the “right thing” to do but because it is important to “Tell of His deeds from generation to generation…”
4 We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
his power, and the wonders he has done.
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob
and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our forefathers
to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
7 Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands.
This Psalm is all about sharing our faith with our children so that they can teach their children and their children’s children. The best way to teach our children is to be living examples and to ensure that their lives are surrounded by people that are living examples of folk that “Love the Lord with all their hearts, with all their strengths and with all their mind.”
The question is where do we find these people, these mentors? I do know that you can not make friends for your children, they have to make their own friends and connections. For years I anguished over this. Not to mention some of my kids are really out going and some just aren’t. Just a glance at my life should have reassured me – through every phase of my life I had a great Christian friend, older and wiser… to keep me accountable and really just a presence and a living example in my life. It took a while, but I have I realized that my children are quite capable of finding their own “wise people” who support them and encourage them and pray for them.
As Christian parents we try to lead by example, reading our Bibles, sharing the Word with them and encouraging them to do the same. Keeping the Sabbath Holy and making Church a priority. While parents can lay the groundwork and provide the habits of a lifetime I think kids still need other people to show them the way. Especially as our kids get older I realize that I want my kids to have people in place who are part of their lives, who will be around when my kids need a friend, a shoulder to cry on, whatever.
Our kids are typical HomeSchool kids who have no idea that children must mingle with children their own age and they are quite unaware of the age line. Luckily this has stood them in good stead. I make a point of leaving them to their own devises at church and they have each made friends with someone older and wiser than themselves. I am not saying that I leave them unattended but rather that, while I keep a watchful eye on them, I do not do their talking for them and I do push them to go and talk to someone particular. Usually they meet people who like to serve in the same way that they do: Helping with the book table, welcoming folk at the door… it is a good way for them to meet and connect with people who have similar interests.
One of my kids loves to discuss the sermon and makes an effort to meet and talk to every pastor that preaches on a Sunday… Once I got over the shock of this natural outgoingness and once I got over the fear of what he might say and left him alone to do his own thing he has met some really amazing people from all around the globe. People whose books he will seek out to read, people who work in tiny churches in small communities, people who work in mega churches in huge cities. He is really able to meet and greet people from all walks of life.
Not all my kids are super out-going and a more reserved fellow has made great friends with one of the church leaders. They exchange natural artifacts on a weekly basis. One week a feather is swapped for a stone and another week a piece of bark is exchanged for stick. I know this is a friendship that will last a lifetime and I know that that child has someone who will watch over them and pray for them. It works both ways when this man was ill last year my son prayed for his health fervently and unceasingly. We all need people to pray for us like that.
Apart from that we have introduced our children to lots of very different christian workers that visit in our home and they each have a particular missionary or family that they pray for and write to. We do not have a weekly sitting at the table and “We will now write to a missionary” but rather by exposing them to a lot of folk, that pass through our home, they have made a connection and built up their own friendships and correspondence. There is something lovely about children praying for missionaries in far away places, people who have their own battles to deal with daily. I have never had my child write to a missionary and not get a response. I know the nature of missionary work is busy and I know these folk are way beyond exhausted at the end of the day but they seem to be encouraged by someone writing to them and they tend to write back regardless of their busy lives. My kids find it encouraging, not just because they are getting mail but because they are part of a ministry.
Otherwise I have been very encouraged by an old lady who prayers for our children… I barely know her but she decided that she was going to prayer for our children and their hearts everyday. She rings me about once a month to see how they are getting on and if anyone needs any particular prayer. I find it quite amazing. This sort of prayer is so completely different to a mother’s prayer. I know my prayers are very often of the desperate nature like: “Please help this child get through their school work today.” “Please keep my children safe, protect them from harm.” It is good to know that their is someone behind the scenes who is praying for their hearts and souls.
I think it is vital for all of us, not just our kids, to surround ourselves with people who will pray for us and support us. I have a friend or three that I can phone and say: “Pray for me now” and they will. Likewise I can pray for them. I like to gift them with prayer… I do not say something flakey “Like I am praying for you” and then totally forget to… But rather in the dead of night when I am awake nursing a small person I can prayer for my friends and their children and those little hearts of theirs.
Have a good week!!!