Selling to Our Most Important Customers… Our Children
Alright parents, time to take a break. Let’s all step back from our parenting perches for just a minute and take five. Big breath, in… hold… let it out. Okay. What does the big picture look like for you? What’s the point of parenthood anyway? Is it creating kids who dress, talk and act like we do? No way.
What is it that we really want for our kids? It’s a fair question. Is the goal to create mini versions of ourselves, to re-brand our Christianity into a franchise of superficial behaviors and outward compliance? Or, is it to shape, build and prepare our young adults to enter life confidently, settled, and secure?
Don't we really want to help our children discover and follow their unique God-given value, identity and purpose? That’s a great goal in my mind. If that’s your goal, if it's your desire to really engage your kids, really empower them to follow your faith and values and principles… won’t those just become natural concepts for them to gradually understand, appreciate and eventually pick up for themselves, if they see it at home? The Bible seems to say so…
Proverbs 22:6 in The Message translation says this: “Point your kids in the right direction— when they’re old they won’t be lost.”
I mean, is it possible that we’re holding onto the proverbial parenting reins just a bit too tightly? We pull back on the reins when we are fearful or angry, twisting and holding on for dear life, trying to direct our kids out of the next tight corner that life leads them to. Sometimes, we are desperate to keep them on the road and out of a ditch, careful to keep them from the path of pain and turmoil, confusion and loss. If you're honest, you’ll recognize that there are days, weeks or even months when we do. I do. My wife does and, I’m confident that if you really consider it, we all do.
Here’s the truth… living out your faith isn’t just a church thing; it isn’t just a devotional on Sunday thing… it’s not just praying before meals or avoiding the use of bad language without fail. NO! It’s got to be more about our hearts and theirs. If our hearts are regularly lingering in the presence of God, our lives will be ridiculously difficult to ignore. I mean, we’ll have a huge surplus of life in us, hungry to learn, to explore to discover! We’ll have a greater capacity to love and be loved, to be compassionate and patient… and we’ll re-discover our dulled sense of humor! Well, that’s not exactly in the Bible…but I believe it’s true... especially if you substitute a genuine sense of humor with the established biblical concept of joy.
What are we selling? If we as parents were to really “live, love and laugh” through our lives with our kids, the principles and beliefs we claim to have will start to be their own… and we’ll actually enjoy being a family together. Our lives will be like a prime-time commercial for the Kingdom of God. (Side-note: I don’t mean to imply a perfectly photo shopped, not a care in the world, always euphoric dinner commercial, but an honest reality of life commercial with a setting of genuine faith, hope and purpose). People around us will want to know what we believe and how we can be so content with the lives we live.
The conversations will be natural, unprompted, uncharacteristically simple and sincere and they will be potent with the authentic power of genuine faith. Faith that believes what the Bible says, faith that holds onto the promises of God to guide, provide for and protect us through life. It’s better than what Allstate guarantees, more comprehensive than State Farm’s coverage, and it will satisfy way more than a Snickers. It’s the faithfulness of God and it’s priceless.
I think in the end our kids will “buy” that.
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