As Christian parents—and through God's help—we must provide our kids with Essentials: the life skills and values that provide the foundation for them to grow into young men and women of character.

Parenting is crammed full of “everyday” details, daily dashes to get the basics covered. Parents are all to aware of the obvious needs; a place to live, a job to pay for the food–someone to cook the food and time to clean up after the food. Clothes to wear, education for the future and a community to grow up in.

Providing the basics requires a maximum effort 24/7/365. It’s a schedule busting battle to get our kids to and from, while keeping our jobs and staying involved with the “other” things of life. Church... school, sports, dance classes and occasional personal moments to rest and relax. It all adds up and can smother us if we’re not careful. When you stop to think about it... covering the basics is an enormous accomplishment in a world of frenzied commitments and unlimited complexities. Tires go flat, refrigerators go out and roofs leak.

We as parents can and do diligently work to cover the basics and yet we can still miss the ”essentials” of being a good parent. Essentials to me are the life skills and values that provide the foundation for our kids to grow into young men and women of character.

Essentials, the things that matter the most for life, are taught only by our behaviors. We shape the practical life skills and moral education of our kids by their close proximity to us.

So what are the life essentials our day-to-day parenting behaviors teach to our kids? I made a list of some of the essentials I’ve found subtly being “taught” to my kids by my actions. I bet these are familiar…

-More is better

-Faith is for when everything else we’ve tried has failed

-Spending time with God’s people is fourth in the list of life activities to prioritize

-Christian living is about behavior

-Pursuing God can be done after the rest of my life gets in order

- Love and Forgiveness are only ideals

- Jesus came to fix the injustices of our life

-God can be blamed for the “bad” things in our lives

- Friendships are valuable if they offer us an advantage

- Truth is relative and can be “adapted” to fit our needs

- The Bible is full of old stories for old people to read before they die

- Money makes up for sadness, loneliness and despair

- Appearances are everything

Parents, let’s be extra aware of the ESSENTIALS we may be teaching our kids. Remember the attitudes, actions and decisions we make on the fly form the core building blocks of our kids beliefs and values for tomorrow.

Parenting is much MORE than just covering the basics... it’s living out authentically what we speak and say. Something I’ve found to be impossible on my own. Living connected to Jesus and walking out each of my day-to-day moments with the grace and power of HIS life within me is the only way I know to authentically model my faith when my energy, emotions, time and money are all exhausted

Take the time today to reconnect with Jesus before you rush off to cover all the basics... you’re family will thank you!

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