The year was 2012, and our son Logan was graduating from high school and moving away to college. I found myself in a bit of a panic, thinking, “Yikes! Have I instilled in him every value I want him to live by?” Well…the answer is hopefully yes but probably not (As a parent, you’re encouraged by that, I’m sure).
In truth, there are lots of things I wish I had known over the years of raising my kids. I wish someone had informed me that no matter how many times you help your son clean up his room, there will be that one random Lego under his bed that you suck up in the vacuum cleaner, causing racket that will make you believe that every screw is vibrating loose and rendering said vacuum useless. Or that junior high girls turn into oversized whiny toddlers with competing desires to wear makeup and NOT deodorant. I should have mentally prepared…
Reflecting back, though, there were principles that became pivotal to how Lyle and I raised our kids to pass along our faith. We lived with Deuteronomy 6:6-8 as our guide: Teach the Word to our children as we walk through our daily lives. I am going to assume that you already want to read the Bible with your children and pray with your kids as you parent, so I hope these additional ideas will be fresh for you:
1) Boys need to hear the voice of their father in their ear (as their father is listening to THE Father!). In John 12:49, Jesus says He only speaks what His Father commanded Him. As a wife, I have prayed for my husband to hear what the Lord tells him to do, just as Jesus did. I grew up with a Marine father and am generally about as tough as a mom can be, but all that toughness often translated to nagging in our son’s ears. The concept of respect is deeply engrained in males, however. So enter Lyle, the father, who could say LITERALLY THE SAME WORDS as I did, but Logan—because he desired his dad’s respect—would obey. Mamas, let your man take the reins, even when it’s difficult to agree with his method of discipline. You’ll earn your husband’s admiration and (hopefully) your son’s cooperation.
2) Show interest in your daughter’s interests so that you can remain connected and speak truth to her. We spent our time with Leah hearing about My Little Pony, reading Lemony Snickett books, talking about school friends, boys, and watching romantic comedies…and through that investment God provided unexpected opportunities to share our perspectives (and the Word). I will admit that paying attention is not always easy, especially if you disagree with your daughter’s latest pastime, but combining that questioning with a loving community allows them to grow.
In creating an environment where sons and daughters are loved and guided, your home will be a place where faith will be taught AND caught!
This post was written by Shelli Jarvis. To read more about her, click here.