When it comes to sharing and teaching their faith, one of the most common arguments I have heard from Christian parents is, ‘how much could be too much!’ Parents want their children to love Jesus, go to church and be good Christians, but it ends just about there. The zeal which is lacking in many is usually passed down to the next generation. As parents, we need to be intentional in training our children the ways of God. The culture of heaven. The order of heaven.
As spiritual trainers to our children, we are on an assignment. While parenting is about preparing our children for a world without their mommy and daddy, Christian Parenting is all about preparing our kids to pursue God at all costs.
Couple of days ago, I shot some pictures with a young Olympian swimmer. I learned something precious from him. He understands that the career of a competitive swimmer doesn’t last for too long, and so he has now taken up golf as a sport. As a young lad, he has been training over the last year or so in golf. His aim is to represent India at the Olympics as a golfer in about 8 years. What is noteworthy is that he and his coach discuss him representing India regularly, walking in the opening march of the games, the different challenges that may come across his path, his victory, going to receive his medal… Now, he may never have these challenges and he may not even represent India in golf, but to see him being prepared for all eventuality 8 years in advance got me thinking.
We are the best life coach our children will ever have. We are anointed for the task (Click to Tweet). I humour my kids, and keep telling them that when Jesus gave them to me, He warned me that if I don’t do a good job as a daddy, He will spank me. My kids find that funny, but somewhere, I really do believe that.
We Have to Get Serious about Our Goal
Training as an athlete; sacrificing your sleep, entertainment and a relaxed lifestyle is no fun. You do it because you have goals to achieve. Imagine getting up every morning at 5, and going through a strict regime. A singular focus of being a world record beater. What do you want to see for your kids? A compromised, lukewarm adult or one burning for Jesus?
Let’s Be Aware of What are the Challenges Ahead
Just like the coach who keeps telling my friend of the hurdles in the path, we need to discuss the hurdles our kids will face in their life. And that’s not easy, unless you know what could be expected. Read “You lost me” by David Kinnaman. The challenges that our children face from society and their peers are way beyond what we did. Soft porn and promiscuity reaches your doorstep every morning in the form of tabloids. We can’t put our kids in a Christian bubble that we believe won’t burst. They have to be explained why we believe what we do.
Schedule a Training Plan
Ask your pastor, or other successful Christian parents how they do it. It’s not a game of hit and miss. What are the areas I need to train to be a successful golfer? It’s not the same schedule I followed to be a successful Olympic swimmer. Similarly, my plan of action to raise a Christian child is different from raising a ‘good, well rounded personality’. Our children run into tough questions before they are ready to answer them. Prepare them for these questions before they head out in life. And life begins as early as in their teens!
Implement the Training Plan
Knowledge alone won’t win you an Olympic medal. There has to be intent to implement what has been learned. As a coach, we gain and have insights. But these need to be implemented in our children. How did you deal with issues pertaining to your faith? When your peers questioned you… When you had to choose between bribing or going through the grind… Share these with your children. Share your faith victories. Be ready to discuss their point of views. Create avenues when you can share intentionally.
Absolute Dependence on the Holy Spirit
I bring this point last because I just can’t tell you enough about this. Depend on the Holy Spirit. The late DGS Dhinakaran tells of a story about how the Holy Spirit told him one evening that his son Paul had gotten into some bad company. He shares how this led him to prayer for his son. Depend on the Holy Spirit for counsel, wisdom, and understanding.
Our battle is not against flesh and blood. But we have a responsibility. These are our kids. We owe it to them to fight. We can’t make them Christians. But we can definitely equip them to make the right choice.