The Ten Things I hope to Teach My Children

Being the father of five; I am constantly teaching my children both literally and through my actions. With the Labor Day weekend and a finally moment to reflect – I thought about the things I hope I can pass on to my children. This is not focused on teaching them how to add or spell but how to face life and be of character. We all have a responsibility to resource, equip, teach, and provide for those who are coming after us, and who are preparing to take our place. We are expected to do all we can to help ensure their growth and security; to teach them the things you value the most. To learn from your mistakes and not necessarily repeat them. It’s probably your most important and fulfilling tasks as a parent – passing on the values that will sustain them through their lives of challenging tasks and difficult decisions.

What, then, should we be careful to pass on tour children? What values do you want to instill? Here are my ten torches I hope to pass on:

Worship values. We need to teach and model the realities of what is truly important in life. Our time to worship and our faith in God should be the most important thing in our lives. Worship is a seven day per week pastime not a Sunday morning date. We need to teach them everyday starts by worshiping God. And Sunday also needs to have more reverence. Sunday is THE day of worship, a day of reverence and rest not a day to schedule birthday parties and little league games. We need to teach and model the reality of God and his grace, being loving in our relationships, the truth of the Word of God, the salvation that comes through Jesus, the importance of a life surrendered to God, that God is first and foremost, that God sees all we do so being an honest person, living holy lives, and living in community – is the only way to live. Once we trust in God and put our faith in him and worship Him as He deserves – the rest of our lives become much richer and become much easier to manage. Our children have to know that all of reality and all of life is spiritual at the core. This is God’s universe, whether we are dealing with marriage, dating, finances, careers, or our mission in life. We have to teach our children to see that God has principles, answers, solutions, and guidance for every single area of life, so they will look to him and trust his ways. To trust in the Bible for our answers not our culture.

Reflection time: I hope to pass on to my children how critical free time is and how valuable your time is. I think as a generation our worst vault is our “business” and ability to overbook ourselves. We never ever have any time to reflect or to mediate; to spend time alone or for that matter to book a lazy time at home with the family. My first value will be of time – to be less busy; less scheduled; less stress – to value your free time and to learn to schedule “nothing” or time to do nothing. The time to meditate; to reflect; to dream and plan is so critical to a healthy life but is often completely missed. To teach my children to leave the office an hour early so as to spend more time with the family instead of working late.

A Servants Attitude: As Americans most of us are blessed to have more than we will ever need. Most of us live in excess – having more toys and spending our free time enjoying our toys and leisure. I want to teach my children to use their blessings on helping others – to use their free time serving others. It takes a long time to realize the joy of helping others far exceeds the pleasure of driving a new boat or playing the latest video game. My second torch to pass on is to teach my children it is far greater to serve others than to serve yourself.

The importance of friends – deep biding relationships. One of the best things we can bequeath to the next generation is how helpful, how rich, and how essential it is to have abiding and vulnerable personal relationships with one another. They need deep relationships that they can not only share with but who will also hold them accountable. They need connections that transcend friendships and ones that go deep within to give each other safety, grace, acceptance, comfort, and truth – relationships in which we provoke each other to love and good works. (Hebrews 10:24) They need to have a small group that is biblically based and will help them grow spiritually.

Less perfection. It seems with emails; computers and better communications – errors seem to get magnified and publicized. Unfortunately this has led to huge pressures to be perfect. Everyone now strives to be so perfect. One thing we don’t need to pass on is our generation’s perfectionism! I hope to teach my children to be able to accept the truth about faults, weaknesses, and failures and not hide in shame, self-judgment, and condemnation. To be more forgiving and less judgmental. I want to teach them about trust and honesty; about confession, forgiveness, grief, restoration, healing, and moving on. This will help them deal with the baggage they will naturally carry and learn to grow as imperfect people who have a living message of hope for a world that is lost. To experience more joy and happiness in their imperfection.

Praise. I hope to model to my children how proud I am of them; how wonderful they are and how much God loves them. Our children need our blessing. They need to know we aren’t holding on to power, territory, or authority. They need to know we trust them and love them and we believe in them and Support them, take initiative to help, mentor them, and guide them. Give them confidence in who they are so they aren’t so apt to change to make someone else happy.

God’s blessings don’t mean being wealthy. Unfortunately we have somehow tied our wealth or lack of it to how much God is blessing us. And if we are successful its because God is blessing our actions. True we do owe everything to God but somehow we attribute our success to his approval and that’s the furthers from the truth. I want my children to learn God’s love and blessings are the same whether we are rich or poor and aren’t an indication of either.

Less judging. This seems to be such an issue I decided to make it a point in itself. We all judge OURSELVES and others too harshly. Culture is constantly setting standards no one can meet and then we judge ourselves too severely. Worse yet we are constantly judging others when we hate it when others judge us. It seems these days those who call themselves Christians end up being the most judgmental. Again nothing is as critical as teaching your children the importance of trust and honesty; about confession, forgiveness, grief, restoration, healing, and moving on. And once they learn to be less judgmental of others they also stop being so concerned with judging themselves and if others are judging them. It’s so freeing.

To value money less: to not let their careers dictate their time and who they are. To find joy in their family and friends; in serving others and to find your stock in life in god and not in your workplace. To learn to save more and spend less and to not have to continue upgrading your spending habits to match you’re earning increases. To not to have to continuously upgrade your house and car. To find your satisfaction in worship and not in your toys.

The Importance of Prayer – though it’s last it’s certainly not the least. We need to pass on to our children how important prayer is; how vital it is to our well being and what a blessing it is to talk to God. You can’t have a better friend or supporter. How often is HE and our prayer time the first thing we cut out of our busy schedule. To have a set prayer time; to start the day in prayer; to pray in the same quiet room; to become a habitual prayer. Pray, Pray and Pray.

May God bless you and your children.

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