I cringe thinking about “secular influences” on my children, not just because they can be bad, but also because I don’t want my children developing a “holier-than-thou” attitude. I want them to be firmly planted in Christ and derive their strength and identity from Him. I don’t want them thinking that they are better than other people because they are Christians and the others are not.
In other words, I don’t want to raise little Sadducees and Pharisees. I want to raise children who strive to be like Christ, looking for the best in people, and giving people a chance when others look down their noses at them.
It’s a difficult balance to find, especially for children, who work better with clear rules and boundaries. In order to find this balance we must teach our children to be thinkers and lead with love.
As a mom, there are millions of things that scare me. I told my son the other day that I can’t think of a scarier job than parenting: our hearts running around outside of out bodies, making decisions that could have lasting consequences. Yikes!
Little children need a list of dos and don’ts. Bigger children need a list accompanied with the “whys.” But pre-teens and teens need so much more. They need to begin developing discernment, or the ability to think critically and carefully. And this is a masterful skill to teach.
If I asked you what influences concern you, you might mention:
But short of constantly spying on our children or following them everywhere, what can we actually do about it?
One day our kids will be at a high school party, off to college, or at a concert 60 miles away, and we won’t be there to help them choose their influences or their path. Our job is to equip them with the proper skills to think through each decision that is presented to them. It’s been said that the average person makes upwards of 35,000 decisions a day.
Are your kids ready to make the right ones when no one is hovering? It’s not enough to be moral and righteous in front of our children, or to even be able to command it out of them. We must make it our mission to teach our children how to be adults that can eventually depend less and less on us to choose wisely.
Kris Wolfe is a Christian, wife and mother. She is a freelance writer who focuses on spiritual and practical encouragement, writes lessons for small group purposes for churches, and is also a small group coach. Kris has a master’s degree in Biblical Counseling from Luther Rice University and Seminary and is a listed TN Supreme Court Rule 31 Mediator.
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