Parenting is an incredibly tough job. Most of us probably didn’t realize just how difficult parenting would be until we became a parent. I’ve been a mommy for almost twenty years. WAIT a minute… Did I really just say that–twenty (20) years?!? Let me just pause for a moment while I do the math– Yep. My oldest will be twenty in October. I cannot believe it!
Now I feel so inadequately equipped to continue writing this post. I mean, twenty years of parenting should have given me a wealthy of knowledge and wisdom to share with you, but I feel as if what actually I know is a drop in a bucket. It is compared to what many of my prayer warriors know. They seem to have so many answers. I don’t know how I would have survived the past twenty years without them and our Heavenly Father.
Now seems like a good time to transition into what I believe are key steps to raising successful children. I hope and pray these guidelines help you in bringing up your precious babes.
- Seek God and His people. I’ve learned that you cannot possibly parent successfully without The Lord in your life. His Word is the only parenting book you need. He gives strength, wisdom and encouragement through His Word and through the godly friends and family He sends your way.
- Put God first. Make Him your top priority. He promises if you do, He will take care of the rest. He says in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Our concerns, our needs, and our desires that fall within His plan for our lives and the lives of our children, they will all fall into a perfectly arranged puzzle.
- Learn to be flexible. If God is The Lord of our lives, then we have to learn to let Him have control. I am a strict list maker and schedule follower, but I’ve learned the hard way that when everything goes my way, it usually goes awry! I need God’s control over my life to steer me in situations and opportunities that work for the good of my family and God’s glory. Instead of getting flustered and bitter when my day doesn’t go as I planned, I need to take the time to see the valuable lesson The Father is trying to teach me. I need to teach my children how to be flexible instead of how to have a tantrum when I don’t get my way.
- Realize your children are not yours. What do I mean they aren’t yours? You have the stretch marks and the dark circles from sleepless nights to prove it! I know, but these precious blessings are on loan from God. They are His. He has given us the honor of raising them for such a short period of time. We will answer to Him for how we care for His blessings. We have to raise them in the way He would have us to.
- Don’t let the world raise your children. This is a big one. We are all guilty of this one, so I preaching to myself as much as I am preaching to you. We put our children in front of the tv, a tablet, or a computer just for a minute (which ends up being an hour) while we take care of the laundry or cook supper. At first we monitor what they are doing, but then the enemy so easily distracts us with finding that missing sock that fell into the black hole or that pot boiling over on the stove. We decide to use the school system as our babysitter giving them way too much responsibility and control over our children. We don’t even know what subjects they are studying much less the fact that they are learning so many things that do not fall in line with a Biblical worldview. Then we expect our small moments of Bible study and church to undo it all. We are tired and weary so we decide our children need to stay busy with all sorts of activities so we don’t have to do our job as parents, or so that they will be well-rounded and successful adults. So we sign them up for multiple play dates, music lessons, sports, and art classes. They have something every single night of the week. Not only do these activities turn us into frazzled chauffeurs, but they take our children out of church activities and away from the home that is supposed to be their worshipful sanctuary on the days they aren’t in church. Then we sit there scratching our heads wondering why our home feels like chaotic mess, why their behavior is so bad, or why our whole family is exhausted all of the time. We have stopped putting God first. Even though we haven’t said it, by our actions we have taught them that their Wednesday and Sunday games and activities are more important than worship and Bible study. We’ve allowed the world to tell them that their success lies in how many soccer goals they make or how many instruments they can play. We’ve allowed too many outside influences to shape their thinking. Don’t get me wrong. Most of these activities have their time and place in our lives and provide great benefit. Sports can teach good sportsmanship. Music provides intellect as well as an avenue for them to serve The Lord in church. Art helps them capture God’s creation. There are educational and Biblical shows on television. However, they should NOT interefere with or take the place of God in our lives. He invites us to praise, worship, and commune with Him throughout each and every day. We should not be allowing the world to step in the way of that.
Success in the world’s eyes is so very different than success in the eyes of God. God’s eyes see truth. I want to see success through His eyes. Yes, being successful at activities and academics can bring glory to God, but only when God is The Lord of our lives, not when we put Him on the back burner.
I want my children to realize that no amount of social status, trophies, good grades, or awards is going to get them into heaven. Earthly success has very little eternal value and it’s full of traps and snares that can take them down a dangerous path.
It’s Godly success that I want for my children. Nothing can top the ultimate prize of being with their Lord in Heaven one day! Raising successful children isn’t easy and I’m sure this list doesn’t even touch on all of the ways we can help our children be successful. However, if we put them on the path to God and point them toward Him along they will have all the tools they need to be successful.