At this moment, in all of my 23 years, I am preparing to be a parent. If not to biological children, then someday I might eventually be one to spiritual children. The next question then is, what do I teach to my future children? What should you teach to yours?
Last June 5, we were given guidelines – the basic things we should teach our offspring and our spiritual children. Pastor Tan-chi divided the teachings into 2. What we should teach the children about themselves and about friends.
In everything we should always be intentional. Especially in teaching and influencing people in our lives.
I remembered myself. Always making up excuses. Always having the divided attention and always lacking FOCUS. Here my friend was sharing something new about himself, and here I was “listening” along with texting, playing with my pup, tinkering with my laptop or else thinking of what good sound advice to give him, or at my worst selfish self – thinking of how I feel about everything being said to me.
Then after a miscommunication and a heated argument, I then realize this conversation wasn’t about me in the first place, it was about my friend sharing, expressing himself.
Then usually I become stubborn, sometimes make up an excuse – WOMEN are MULTITASKERS. We can be a listener while doing something else. We can cook, clean, be a businesswoman, take care of the child, run errands and be the wife all at the same time. This is true. But not all of it. Sometimes being the multitasking being that we are, we sometimes neglect the most important things. Our divided attention sacrifices what should be our priority.
In being a parent, we cannot make excuses. We cannot afford to make a mistake in raising children. We also cannot be 30% the spouse, 10% the cook, 30% the mom or dad, 30% the working man/woman. We’ve got to be 100% in every way. We’ve got to be INTENTIONAL in everything. Might sound a tall order, but nothing is impossible with God. As early as now we’ve got to practice being INTENTIONAL. Most importantly in raising our children, we’ve got to TEACH INTENTIONALLY because as the first people in their life, as the model in our spiritual children’s life we INFLUENCE them GREATLY.
Now, may I share you what to teach them as I’ve learned in last Sunday’s worship service.
I. About Themselves
(A.) God sees them as SPECIAL.
As parents, you’ve got to teach your children that they are VALUABLE. That they are PRECIOUS in God’s eyes. That they are fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139:14) and that they are a child of God (1 John 3:1-2).
Today most people define themselves by what the world instructs them to be. They believe the latest gadgets, clothes, cars or what nots define their being. They find security in these things. They buy more and accumulate all these expensive items. But at the end of the day, they still feel insecure, then they purchase more and it goes on. The void is never filled. Why is this so? Their security lies on temporary, material things. When these are gone, they also lose themselves, they lose their identity.
Remind your children that they in themselves are SPECIAL. They are a child of God. In them lies eternity, they do not need to depend on these temporary things because in them they are royalty praise be to Christ we became adopted sons and daughters of God. Only in God can they find security.
Pastor Tan-Chi quoted and I re quote him: You become what the most important person in your life thinks you are.
I am raised by my mom alone. I praise God for her that she has brought me and my sister up without us in want of anything. Lavishing us with words of encouragement and more, doing home works with us and all. But as important as my mom is in my life, I cannot deny that how my dad thinks/not think of me also becomes a part of me.
How could I feel special when I am not even thought of. But I continue to trust that all things are for God’s greater glory, for me to able to testify of my history. In all these I find comfort in 1 John 3:1-2. I am a child of God. I may have earthly parents but more than that I am His child. This is enough for me.
(B.) God has a wonderful plan for them.
We are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). We are His masterpiece. For each and everyone, He has designed an amazing plan. Though not yet fully revealed to us.
Teach your child to have a vision. That God has prepared them for something great, something so amazing, beyond their imagination.
Once they have this vision, everything should follow. This is what should fuel them and give them purpose. Why should they study hard? Why should they work hard? It’s because they are being equipped, molded to do something great for God.
They would not be afraid of failure and problems because they know that that in these failures and problems, they are being sharpened and toughened for the bigger plan to come.
(C.) God wants them to be Thankful
Sometimes children grow up ungrateful. They feel that they deserve to be schooled, they deserve the luxury their parents can afford, they deserve their baon, the cars they drive, the clothes they wear. They think their parents owe them these, and when they don’t get it they become dissatisfied. This is the fault of the parents.
Parents do not teach their children to be grateful. Of the food they have on their table while others can barely have a meal. Of the clothes on their back while others walk on bare feet. Of the education they have while others barely know how to read.
It begins with us. All of us should learn the attitude of GRATEFULNESS. In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
2 things I should live by:
1. Thankful people are happy people.
Most people are unhappy because they compare their lives with someone else. They wish they had more, they are in terrible discontentment. But those who appreciate the littlest of things, every blessing given them, are happier and contented. They are wiser because they can recognize the blessings in their life, and they know how valuable the bigger things are.
2. Giving thanks unleashes the power of faith.
“Giving thanks is the evidence of faith” (Pastor Tan-Chi) Because in giving thanks, we say we trust you Lord in everything that happens. May it be problems or trials, we continue to give thanks. We may not understand it now, but we have faith that we will eventually understand, and all these are for His glory.
Rubbing off this attitude to our biological and spiritual children, we instill in them a happy heart. Grateful to serve. Grateful to God.
(D.) God wants them to be Responsible for their Choices.
Parents sometimes have the tendency to be all-comforting to their child. Doing everything in their power to spare them the hurt and the consequences of their actions. And their reason: We love them, we cannot bear to see them get hurt. Imagine Jason Ivler and his mom. Sorry for the example, but you can see here how long his mom tried to hide him from the authorities despite his wrongdoing of taking a life.
I don’t want to judge I am not a parent yet. But it is important in the early stage that you teach your children to be responsible for their own choices. Provide them with all the guidance, but at the end of the day, they should be able to make their own decision, they should be able to link how this choice would render this corresponding consequence. How else will they learn if not from their own experience?
You have to teach them that though “they are FREE to choose, they aren’t FREE to escape the consequences of their decision.“
One more thing is that parents may always have the BEST INTENTIONS for their children but it does not determine DESTINATION. This goes for everyone else. INTENTION is not equal to DESTINATION, CHOICES do. They might want their kids to become responsible adults, but they choose to spoil them, giving them everything they want at the slightest whim. Do you think they would grow up to become responsible adults?
Let your children learn from their mistakes. Though parents might want to spare their child from all sorts of pain, at the end of the day you cannot walk the path for them, you cannot make the choices for them. Be the better parent. Teach them to make a better choice.
(C.) God wants them to develop CHRIST-CONFIDENCE and NOT SELF-CONFIDENCE
Self-confidence makes insecure people. The attention is directed towards you, you are given the glory. But honestly it’s really not about you, nor your strength. Because you are limited, you can only do so much. There is an end to your capabilities. I have an end. You have an end.
But with God, NOTHING is impossible. With your confidence in Christ, you know that you can do things so great. In your weakness, He is your strength, He can magnify you all for HIS greater glory.
Teach your child that as long as they develop the attitude of Christ-confidence, they can accomplish many things great. They need not fear nor worry. HE is behind them every step of the way.