Momma told Me Not To Come. Listen to Mamma

October 25, 2011

As a parent you may spend a good deal of time wondering how to get your children to heed your warnings. After all, we often ignored the best advice of our parents, and chose to learn the hard way. So how can we build into our families faith building lessons that our children want to follow? Steve and Valerie Bell, in their book, Faith Shaped Kids point out, “Spiritually aware parents help a child shape-to-faith more than any other factor.”1   So never underestimate the importance of the role you play.

The Bell’s also point out that as parents we don’t have to have all the answers. Honest searching and discovery with your child may be more important than always having the right answer. Asking whether or not your child will listen is not the right question. They are always listening!  The real question is, what are they hearing? Do you live honestly in front of your kids? Do they see you live out what you say you believe? Does your value system reflect eternal Truth, or is it situationaly relevant?

Jesus, unlike the religious leaders of his day, walked his talk. If you truly want your children to adopt a moral code that works, don’t forget the element of love and grace. Let your kids know that you love them unconditionally, and that God does also. Show grace whenever you can. In other words, if a grace lesson would teach more than punishment, offer grace. You can have your child joyfully follow you if your value system is surrounded by love and grace. Love and grace offer an offer an irresistible call. Jesus was no easier on people with his words than the religious leaders of the time. As a matter of fact most of his teaching was followed with remarks such as, “Who can follow such a hard teaching?” What set the message of Jesus apart was that he walked the walk, and that his life and his message was infused with love and grace.

You are not going to get it right every time. Don’t kick yourself. Neither will your kids. Don’t kick them. With love and grace, humility and patience, look frequently to God’s Word in front of your kids. And go there together. Psalm 78: 1-8 (NIrV) “My people listen to my teaching. Pay attention to what I say. I will open my mouth and tell stories. I will speak about things that were hidden. They happened a long time ago. We have heard about them and we know them. Our people who lived before us told us about them. We won’t hide them from our children. We will tell them to those who live after us. We will tell them about what the Lord has done that is worthy of praise. We will talk about his power and the wonderful things he has done. He gave laws to the people of Jacob. He gave Israel their law. He commanded our people who lived before us to teach his law to our children. Then they would put their trust in God. They would not forget what he has done. They would obey his commands. They would not be like their people who lived before them. Those people were stubborn. Their hearts were not true to him. Their spirits were not faithful to him.”

Talk to your kids about spiritual things; share the parts of your own spiritual journey that are age appropriate for your kids.  Be on the journey in front of your kids.  Love God at home and in public.  Love your kids at home and in public.

Especially, love them.

 

 

1 Faith Shaped Kids, 2001 Steve and Valerie Bell, Moody Press, Chicago. Page 13

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