I’ve been thinking about a few things this past weekend. As parents, we have the responsibility to raise this next generation in such a way that they learn from the mistakes we made so they are not repeated. We must raise them to be free-thinking and future minded, not just “in the moment”. There is history within the bedrock of every family. Our children should be taught the history, as well as encouraged to change history. Technology is a wonderful avenue for knowledge, but we must be careful about the knowledge our children are exposed to. This is a culture of “gimme now”, “I am owed this”, and “if it doesn’t affect me, who cares?” Please don’t take this the wrong way, I’m no parenting expert and my children are grown, but as I reflect on how I raised my kids, I can see where I made mistakes. I write this as a general observation, not as an expert.
We have a generation of children who don’t fully understand what it means to wait for something, to work for something, to put others ahead of themselves. They don’t fully understand what true humility is, and how to handle conflict and adversity. It is our responsibility to teach this. We must be aware of how our children learn and we must be the model we desire them to emulate.
“Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church” (1 Corinthians 4: 16-17 NIV). The disciples lived and learned from Jesus, giving them an example to live by. Paul did not live with Christ, but He was taught by the Holy Spirit. Children are great imitators, and so we must teach our children by example.
To have children who are grateful, humble and selfless, we must be willing to exhibit those very same behaviors. If we want our children to be positive and compassionate, we must teach them by example. If we want our children to be people of prayer, we must pray with our children and pray for others in front of them. If we want them to be creative, we must give them room to play creatively. Most importantly, we must not label our children, nor allow others to label them.
As a grandparent, I now have the privilege to influence the lives of the next generation and not repeat past mistakes. God is raising up an army in the upcoming generations, we must pray them in, pray them strong and pray them up.