Last year, right before COVID hit, I wrote an article that you probably didn’t read (Thanks, global pandemic!) but now that Summer is upon me and my kids are currently pulling me in 15 different directions, I was reminded of what I’d written about Parenting in the Harvest. Hopefully, it’ll encourage you:
But thanks to surviving exactly one week of summer break with my kids (but who’s counting?!), I was reminded of a few other parenting truths I’ve been learning. Because if you’re like me, the long, hot, dog days of summer have me questioning everything I ever knew about parenting.
More Is Caught Than Taught
This is true about most teaching but it is especially true in our homes. Our kids really are just giant eyes and ears. I’ve learned a lot of amazing intentional tools to use with my children to teach them about Jesus and how to walk with Him, but honestly, the greatest thing we can do is show them. Want to teach your kids a love for the Scriptures? Show them what it looks like to have time in the Word as a priority in your home. Want your kids to grow up knowing how to pray in all things? Pray. All the time. Ask them to join you. Want your kids to know how to share the Gospel? Share the gospel around your kids. I so often get caught up in performance, but I have a feeling there was a lot of watching for the 12 disciples when they were with Jesus. It’s a good reminder for me that my kids are watching ME. I can tell them, till I’m blue in the face, to honor Jesus with how we live, but until they see me doing it, it’ll get lost in translation.
Celebrate the Little (and Big) Victories
There is nothing more humbling than parenting. Just when I think I’ve got a handle on one season with my kids, they transition into a new one where all the rules have been changed and now they’ve mastered the use of sarcasm. There is always going to be something new to work on, some new sin issues that we need to address. So don’t forget to share joy and celebration with your kids. Did they remember to obey right away? Celebrate it! Did they try their hand at sharing the gospel with another kid on the playground but it came out all jumbled, fist pump and offer zero “constructive” criticism. Did your shy kid volunteer to pray at dinner? AMAZING. We can often get caught up on all the things our kids aren’t doing just so, but remember that we’re in a marathon with our kids, not a sprint! May we never quench the love and joy of Jesus in them because we want it to be perfect and look a certain way.
Jesus Loves Them More
Recently our daughter got baptized, I was a nervous wreck for days beforehand. She’d invited a lot of people, and it was going to be, by far, the largest group of people we’d had in one place in a year and a half…or would they all get spooked and not show?! Also, it was raining, like a lot, and the baptism was going to be outside. How were we going to pull it all off?! But the day came, and the people showed up en masse around a neighbor’s pool. The weather cleared. It was perfect. And later as I scanned the pictures my daughter was beaming.
“It was the best day.”
Jesus had shown up for her in a way that even as parents we couldn’t pull off. I was reminded that as much as I love my kids, Jesus loves them more! Isn’t that amazing to think about? We want our kids to love Jesus, to give their lives to Him. But He’s actively wooing them! We can play a part in that love story, but ultimately we get to pray over our children and then watch the Holy Spirit pursue them. That personal love story is a mystery and often has a timeline and a plotline that we do not understand. But I am thankful for the reminder that our children are loved by the Father far better than we ever could!
Now for the Rest of Summer
I’m sure I’ll remember even more important discipling kids lessons in week two of summer, but until then, I am thankful that parenting is really just like that airline pamphlet says: Put on your own oxygen mask before putting on your kids’. So let’s get in the Word of God and go deep in our prayer lives this summer and I think we’ll make it! Don’t forget to celebrate the victories both big and small. And know that, if we let Him, we all have a Heavenly Father who’s pursuing the hearts and minds of each and every one of us.