Updated: Jun 25, 2018
2017. Busy. Distracted. Short Tempered. Stressed. Unavailable. Rushed.
2018. Busy. Attentive. Intentional. Available. Engaged.
How do you think your child(ren) would describe you?
This is a #humbling question to consider. It is even more humbling to actually ask them. But I think it is important to ask them. I think it is vital to consider. I think it holds us accountable as parents.
I was deeply convicted in the last half of 2017 of my influence on my son's faith. I have many roles in life, tons of responsibilities, but among them, I consider the following to be in the top 3:
I have the privilege of shaping my child's view of God.
Have you ever tried to get your child to see something in the distance? You point, you describe, you hold their face in the general direction, and sometimes they still don't see it. Sometimes they see immediately, and others it takes years. This responsibility, shaping our child(ren)'s view of God, is much like that! Parenting our children toward faith is full of daily reminders, creative descriptions, constant pointing, and often holding their gaze in the general direction. But, oh, what a privilege.
As parents, we have a mounding to do list. Never-ending. Ever-changing.
But of all the tasks on our to do list each day, this should be a responsibility that has a place holder.
How can I influence my child(ren)'s view of God today...what intentional task can I pursue to reveal something about God and His character.
But, this question must be asked before the start of the day - before you see the whites of their eyes. This is what makes it intentional.
In the beginning, when I first was convicted about my influence on my Son's faith, I asked myself this question in hind sight --- especially on exhausted days - What did I do today that might "count" as influential?
The problem with hindsight, is that we force fit a way. "Well I had a good attitude while folding 8 loads of laundry, I cooked dinner with a smile, I had patience with him/her during our 2-hour bedtime routine"... but guys --- these are not intentional.
These are what I would call #grace.
We, as parents, find ourselves exhausted beyond the norm at times...and God inserts a bit of Himself in these moments: joy, kindness, patience, etc. There are days, where I respond unexplainably positive and wonder how I was able to do so. Other days, I fall victim to my flesh and respond with my own obvious character traits (aka: flaws): selfishness, anger, impatience, short-temperedness. The difference between the two possible responses: God's Grace - grace that is readily available to us fresh and new every day!
Now, as I have grown in my conviction to influence Gavin's faith, I try to ask myself this question of what I can do - in advance. It leads to more productive and deliberate actions. Think premeditated.
Do you watch crime TV or courtroom dramas? These are a guilty pleasure of mine. In another life, one in which I did not have family or children, this would have been my chosen profession. I love the mental challenge of solving crime, seeking answers and discovering the "why" behind the action. The determining factor in court for many crimes, resides in the intent - If the crime was premeditated. This one establishment will control the outcome immensely. It defines the difference in motive, planning, action, and outcome. It affects it all.
The same is true with our influence on our children. Our premeditated [pre-planned, conscious, willful, deliberate] actions to persuade our child(ren)'s relationship with God will be the game-changer in every step: our motive, the planning, actions, and the outcome.
God's grace will cover us the day's we fall victim to our flesh, but I strongly believe that when we stand accountable one day before the Lord, this will be an area He will consider:
If He has blessed you with child(ren), what have you done to steward that blessing?
Today I am starting a new routine with Gavin, and I wanted to invite those of you who may be interested to join us. I will be pressing pause every other week to connect with Gavin and ask him how God is working in his heart. This description will look different to each of you, depending on age, vocabulary, spriritual maturity, etc. But I am calling it a #heartcheck. These can be weekly, monthly, etc. But I want to challenge you all to connect and assess what you children need, as well as challenge your children to see God in their everyday lives. How He is working, moving, convicting, calling them. Who He has been to them, how He has helped them, what prayers He has answered, how they have obeyed Him.
Another reason I think this is so important, is it will teach Gavin to continue talking openly about his faith. It will show him to value the importance of sharing his faith with others, but also hearing about their faith and relationship with God too.
I hope this is something I can continue for years and create a open line of communication with Gavin for even Adulthood. Hearing how God speaks to his little heart is precious and I can only imagine how incredible it will be to hear how God moves as he and his faith grows and matures.
I will try and record our #heartcheck each time to encourage and inspire you all, but mainly to hold us accountable to creating this habit. I would love to have you and your littles join us on this journey and as I post, would love for you to comment and share how your children are growing in their faith.