raising our children for the sake of others…

It’s a phrase heard in homes around the world on a regular basis.  Not quite a phrase really, but a word. A word that can speak volumes, or simply be a moment of wanting.  From a very young age, our kids learn the word “MINE!”.  It takes different forms as they age, and becomes a longer sentence, but it’s meaning can still be a very powerful thing.

Our role as parents, is not just to help our kids grow into “grownups” someday.  It’s not even about helping our kids to achieve the “American Dream” or become “successful”.  One of the most important roles we live out as parents, is to help our children to follow Christ.  To live in a way that they bring His healing, New Life, freedom, and Love.  In a world where adults are often seen yelling “MINE!” just as loudly as the 3 year old in my house – this can often prove difficult.

Nevertheless, as we live it as parents, we find our children inclined to follow us.  In the everyday outpouring of our lives for others.  In our living as a part of communities, extended families, and adopting others into our lives, grafting those God Loves into our families and homes just as we ourselves have been grafted into being sons and daughters of His.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4

This is no easy task.  In James, we are told that “no man can tame the tongue”, and yet we’re called to honor Him with our words.  The illustration James uses talks about a salt-water steam not being able to produce fresh-water.  It’s the same with our humility and Love for others.  This is not merely talking about the actions and words that come out from us.  This is talking about examining our “source”.  Where do we “receive life”?  What do we wake up each morning, declaring as our goal?  What would make today “successful” in your book?

As we allow our lives to be shaped by God’s Love for Others in such a way that these sorts of things take priority, we may find that others are following in our footsteps.  Yes, there will still be times where we have to sit our children in “Time Out”, and enforced moments of sharing…but our lives speak much louder than our parenting techniques – as they grow into who God is calling them to be…

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