I have been to some degree concerned about getting my kids involved with other kids because I think they are a bit lonely for other kids to play with. I’m a bit protective about the influences that come into their life. In short I don’t want the influences of unbelievers rubbing off on my kids before they are firmly grounded in Christ. So I’ve also struggled with involving them in certain organizations. One example is Boy Scouts. I loved Scouts when I was a kid and learned a lot morally, but one thing that keeps me from getting involved is the Scripture that says
And so I know the Scouts are big into Oaths and Mottos. Not to mention thier mixture of Indian folklore if one is inducted into the Order of the Arrow like I once was. Then there’s additional oaths in that. Then there’s the whole aspect of working towards rewards, which seems contrary to the Gospel and I think would confuse the walk with Christ that I’m trying to point to and instill in my children.
What is really missing is the children seeing, not just their parents walk with Christ but Christ in His Body. The living example that true fellowship brings.
That living example comes by fellowshipping in Christ anywhere you can, in homes, offices, restaurants. We are not limited to a building called “church”. Nor are we limited by how knowledgeable in Scripture we are in the beginning. The more we meet the more we learn. Not to say personal study shouldn’t be done. It’s imperative that we do. But understanding can be refined and further embedded in our walk when we discuss it and see it in others as well.
In reality my kids do not exhibit any social awkwardness. In fact they can carry on a conversation with anybody willing to listen. They often carry on whether they listen or not. Perhaps a good trait for preaching the Gospel one day, Lord willing.
Thanks for sharing this with us Al. Obviously the single guy can’t offer much advice but it is good to know what is happening with your family. It has to be very difficult and challenging to balance being protective and at the same time desiring to have your children form their own convictions. Just the fact that they know most “Christians” go to church is probably tough on them to some degree. Nothing to be feared here, and likely preparation for what is to come.
I admire your stance on what many others would deem to be superficial in nature. It is no such thing. Rarely are we tripped up at first with the larger temptations in life, rather it’s the little “good” things or choices that we think can do us no harm. We must remember that seeds are seeds and they will sprout and grow if cultivated. That cultivation doesn’t have to be an active pursuit- sometimes just thoughts are enough to sin before God.
It’s hard for me too, I interact often with young people in the restaurants where I eat and I occasionally talk with them. The pressures are great though you would hardly know it by the way they carry themselves. We have to learn to get beyond that.
We need to keep praying for our outreach to others along these relational lines our Father has shown us. I imagine that having your children praying with you will aid in their contentment with the way things are for the time being. Just like you and I Al, if we know our lives are instrumental in helping others and glorifying God, this alone propels us in the right direction. Sometimes we need to see the fruits of our labors. I’ll admit it…..I do.
You can say hi to Gabriel and Bethany for me. They are no less a part of the family of God than any other, and they too can impact others for Jesus’ sake.
My goal was to raise children who looked to the Lord for guidance, considering their conscience before God, and obeying the leading of His Spirit.
Therefore, I didn’t always tell them what to do. Rather, I asked them questions to draw them to the knowledge of God and taught them scriptural truths that were relevant to their situation.
For example, one day, instead of telling my daughter not to wear something to school, I asked her to ask God if wearing that would be pleasing to Him: and left the decision to her.
In that case, she chose not to wear it–and I pointed her to God–instead of man [my opinion].
Now, I realize that we have to be led by the Spirit in how we deal with all of these things–and ONLY God can truly show us [parents] the way [and He will] …
P.S. Now, that you have me thinking … if I had young children again, the first thing I would do is keep them OUT of public school. [I’m a public school teacher too, ya’ know.]
I always was completely open and honest about all of the issues facing my children and I in our Christian walk. In this one way, I treated them more like adults than children. [I followed the Holy Spirit’s judgment in all of this, of course.] In that way, I expressed value for the authenticity of their faith.
One day, my son came home with a ‘magic’ spoon that was twisted [the stem had about 4 twists in it]. That ‘struck’ my spirit wrong. After I thought [prayed] about it, I asked him to give me the spoon. I bent it back-and-forth until it got hot. I showed him it was hot and asked him if he could twist it. He said, “Yes!” I said, “Magic pretends it’s something that it is not and teaches you a lie; science teaches you the truth, so you can use that knowledge as a tool. Which do you think is better, son?” “Science!” he exclaimed.
It wasn’t the spoon that bothered me. It was the lie behind the spoon and the doorway that created in his mind that could open him up to real danger later on, if I didn’t address it.
Elders and parents are God’s gate-keepers: we keep darkness out and let light in.
The family expert/teacher has spoken well!
wow.. what a great example you gave here… my son is in public school ’cause this is here only option but I have to pay more attention what he learns and to show him this knowlegdge in the light of the Word…
God Bless you Natasa, Not being able to homeschool brings on all kinds of extra challenges. Though I realize even for those of us who do homeschool, there are still plenty of pressures from the world that continually challenge us. The enemy never sleeps and will try to up end God’s work at every turn. Let us be in prayer that the Lord will watch over those who are His!
“Therefore, I didn’t always tell them what to do. Rather, I asked them questions to draw them to the knowledge of God and taught them scriptural truths that were relevant to their situation. ”
Wise counsel, and I have done that at times and hope to do it more as the kids mature.
“The enemy never sleeps and will try to up end God’s work at every turn. Let us be in prayer that the Lord will watch over those who are His!”
Al, don’t really have much to add but Amen and apparently a much needed topic for all of us who seek to raise our children in a God honoring way that directs them towards Christ by the grace of God. Appreciate everyone’s input – even the the single guys 🙂 , we definitely don’t want to raise religious pharisees and at the same time we don’t want lascivious teenagers professing faith either.
For men it can be hard as God has made us the spiritual head of the household. If we are to lead the household then my thoughts are that “we must lead by example”. If I force things through it doesn’t give a good example…If my life is patterned how I want my kids to be then I am leading them.
One of the wonderful things that Christ said about children was
Luke 18:15 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them: for of such is the kingdom of God. 17 Truly I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
Mat 18:10 Take heed that none of you despise one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
One thing I would like to bring up at this point – do we ever see children arguing about Christmas or Easter and other days…no. In fact, put children with different languages and of all backgrounds into a room full of toys and watch how they interact…they just start getting on…even the language barrier doesn’t seem to pose a problem…that is just a side thought.
Now onto something else – Job sacrificed for his children in-case they had sinned against the Lord. He knew that they would sin. Now we don’t sacrifice with animals anymore but instead we praise the Lord with our lips…we should pray (and no doubt we do) and we can ask for God to forgive them and us for any sins we have done that day.
Children are made holy because of the believing parents (another teaching I think from 1cor7…)
This entire area for me is one that is unbelievably hard to put into practice because at the moment my wife doesn’t believe in Christ and my children do have that influence upon them which I have to battle sometimes. Unbelievers tend to push – free thought and stand up for your own decisions, while believers always lean to what the Spirit is teaching which in most cases is to be passive and humble. This rub of unbeliever/believer makes things delicate but it has taught me to have grace…What should happen is that the fruits of the Spirit should be manifest in the household of any believer and this sanctifies those around them…this goes for those surrounded by unbelievers and believers alike. Are our children being lead in the fruits of the Spirit? Asking them to start understanding the ins and outs of the trinity and the words of “meat” is something that we have to bring in gently…for now we can lead them in love, joy, peace, patience…”the milk of the word”…then as they grow with the fruits of the Holy Spirit then we can start introducing the more “words of meat”.
It takes patience…lets remember that fruit takes a while to grow.
In conclusion – I can understand were you are coming from with the oaths and things…I hadn’t seen that before? They are going to make mistakes and we are going to have to help them when they do…but this doesn’t mean that we let them get away with anything they want…
I think as the world falls further and further away from God that the people of God are going to start to feel more and more segregation between the world and what is coming. God will make us stand. Jesus Christ has paid for our sin…he that has been forgiven much loves much – Lets “Love much”
God bless – I will pray for you and your family, I love you guys…you bless me from the word of God and with your lives so much…just by being brothers and sisters.
Thanks for the comments brother. Certainly a Godly example is needed in a child’s earthly parents. And you make some wonderfully valid points regarding the sacrifices we make as Godly parents to raise up children willing to follow Christ rather than bringing them under compulsion. When we teach Christ here, we always say that when they are ready they can make the choice to follow Christ or not. Always explaining the end result of not following (bound for eternal Hell).
I guess my focus in this entry is in the micro rather than the macro in as far as appropriate social influences and a disparity between the influence of a properly manifested Body of Christ and the many secular influences out there. I think we need to be careful who we associate our children with in regard to christian and secular organizations.
Just on the topic of the social needs of the kids, which is very real, all i would say is keep praying and looking for close fellowship with other Godly families and friendships with kids their own age so that the kids will grow up with a sense that the values which you’ve instilled in them are normal and the usual values of society are abnormal. We also have been much pained about this matter. We know brethren who’ve left churches simply for the sake of their kids so that they won’t be wrongly influenced by wild and worldly undisciplined kids from other Christian families. It’s so important that our kids come to learn the difference and come to know that they are a called-out people, so that later they can take their stand in the world and influence others rather than come under the wrong influence. Christian community gives the much needed affirmation of Godly values.
There’s going to be a battle.
What our children remember is where we stood in the battle.