My daughter turned two this summer. I cannot believe how time flies. I was told when she was born that she would grow up before I know it, and I thought people were crazy, and that was just some “parenting cliche” that people used, but now I am starting to really feel how time flies. We just found out that my wife will be having baby #2 in March. So, I am just getting rolling into this how parenting stage, and now will soon be the parent of 2 kids. That is a scary thought, but I am excited about the opportunity. I was praying through what to share with my teenagers parents at Parent Night this week in our student ministry, and I wrote down five objectives that I have as a parent. These objectives do not change regardless of the stage of parenting that I am currently in. For instance, you may be parenting a teenager while I am parenting a two-year old. I am worried about diapers and building a fort that my daughter calls “Lynlee’s hole” each evening while you may be worried about completely different things, but our objectives stay the same as parents, and here they are:
- As a Parent, my personal relationship with God affects my kids more than I realize. I cannot properly love and treat my wife or kids properly without an active relationship with God. It is impossible. We are called to love them the way that Christ loved the church. Your relationship of God (or lack of) will be demonstrated in the way you treat your wife and kids. Kids will get the best or worst picture of Christianity out of what they see in our homes. They will either see Jesus in you and absolutely love Jesus themselves, or they may see hypocrisy in their home, and have a bad taste for Christianity.
- As a Parent, my relationship with my spouse shapes the way my kids view dating, marriage, and sex. We live in a sex cultured society. From the music industry, to the internet, to the television, sex has saturated our culture. Look at the apps on our phones; look at the twitter accounts, or the facebook accounts. The Parents Television Council released a 407% increase in nudity on television in 2013 as opposed to 2012. This is five times more than last season alone. Look at the rise of homosexuality in our culture. It is rare to find homosexuality looked upon as gross, or a weird lifestyle. It is now seen as the typical modern family. Kids are now getting sex advice, dating advice, and marriage advice from all of the wrong places. The problem with society in general is that they have not gotten the proper view of dating, marriage, and sex from their parents like it was intended to be. They should get dating advice, marriage advice, and sex advice from their parents. They also should see these lived out in their parents testimony. Do not be afraid to show affection to your spouse in front of your kids.
- As a Parent, my main objective for my kids is that they have an active and authentic relationship with God. Notice the main objective is not happiness. Is there anything wrong with desiring for our kids to be happy? Absolutely not, but let’s just face it, the Christian life does not always seem from our humanistic perspectives to be the happiest life all of the time. If I always chose the happiest road, I would not be where I am right now. The secret to true happiness though is only found in a relationship with God.
- As a Parent, I am the primary discipler of my kids. Discipleship can be defined as “helping or assisting in the shaping of one’s beliefs and character.” The youth pastor helps and assists, but what they see at home is the primary discipleship that they can receive. No one has more potential to influence a child’s relationship with God than parents. No one has more potential to monitor a child’s relationship with God than parents. Jim Burns shared a statistic that teens are 3 times more likely to stay in church after they graduate high school if there are regular faith conversations at home.
- As a Parent, my kids need a regular voices influencing and enforcing what we teach at home. This is where youth leaders come in. Look, youth pastors and leaders are not the parents. We are just here to come alongside, assist, and partner with parents. When we are working together, I believe that we (together) will be the most effective team and the sky is the limit to what God wants to do through our kids.