As parents, we worry about how our kids will turn out, or at least I do. My wife and I have read a ton of books, experimented with several different methods, and took advice from numerous sources. While our kids are still young, the oldest is only eleven, I feel like we have made some major progress in giving them a firm foundation so they can be good and productive adults. I am by no means saying our kids are perfect, but I think that we have stumbled on a couple keys to help our kids be the best version of themselves.
First, in order for our kids to be perfect, they have to know Jesus as their savior. This is not something we can force on them, but it is something we can encourage and foster. Throughout the New Testament, the understanding that Jesus transforms a person’s life is clear.
“I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)
“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5)
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The best way for our kids to go from “bad” to “good”* is through the work and power of Jesus, and this is the only way for it to happen at their core. This is actually really good news for us as parents. This means it is not necessarily about our parenting styles or anything like that. It is about Jesus’ work in their lives, and He is more than capable to take care of our kids.
Since Jesus is the only way to truly change our kids’ hearts, what are you doing to foster a relationship between your kids and Jesus? This has to be so much more than just taking them to church. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great step, but it can’t stop there. Give your kids tools to have a relationship with Jesus. Model prayer for them. Model Bible study for them. Teach them about God and His ways. Ask them about their time with God. Be involved and intentional about their spiritual lives. This means you have to be intentional about your spiritual walk, but I’ll save that for another day.
Second, in order for our kids to have a chance at being a “perfect” kid, we have to be involved. A ton of studies show that when parents are involved, the child will succeed, both educationally and spiritually. This has to go further than simply being present. We have to be engaged. Play games with your kids. Talk with your kids. Go to all of their extra curricular activities. The more they see that you care and are involved, the easier it is to foster healthy boundaries for them, which includes spiritual boundaries.
The reality is that we will never have perfect kids on this side of heaven, but putting them on a trajectory to be successful in life comes down to two simple things: Jesus and being present.
What are you doing to foster your kids’ spiritual lives? Is there anything you need to change in order to be more engaged with your kids on a regular basis? Are there any other keys to having “good” kids?
* I hate the labels good and bad in this conversation, but they are the simplest way to make the point here.