I recently took our daughter, Faith to the dentist. Everyone in the office, the dentist, assistants, and clerk all commented on how great Faith was during the visit. The clerk told me “she’s an awesome kid”. I replied with “both my kids are awesome.” The clerk said “I never hear parents say that about their kids anymore.” So I shared with her four things Melissa and I tried to do with our kids that I believe God used to make them awesome. Let me share them with you.
We gave them the gift of our presence.
“The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” Proverbs 29:15
Parenting is a contact sport. You can’t mold kids from a distance. You can’t just be a spectator watching the TV raise them. Children left to themselves bring their parents shame (out of control, poor character, lack of values, unsupervised activities and vices, etc.) So we tried to always be there for our kids and be there with our kids. We made a sacrifice to always have one of us parents at home. Many families can’t afford to do this in today’s economy but when you’re at home, be available and engaged. Watch movies with your kids, play games with them, talk with them. Even if you won’t play the game, sit with them while they play and watch them. We did this just last night when DeVonti came home to visit. He and Faith played video games while Melissa and I watched and engaged with them.
We kept an opened door.
“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
We never tried to provoke our kids or put them their place. Everyone knew their roles in the family. It was never us against them. So everyone has a voice that should be heard. We may not have always agreed but they never really felt they needed to hide anything from us because they knew they would be heard. Because of this, our kids know they can talk to us about anything. We’ve talked about mistakes, victories, likes and dislikes, dating, sex, social life, finances, and just about any other topic. The door swings both ways. When we make mistakes we swallow our pride, go to our kids and apologize to them. Seeing our example, they too come to us to apologize for their mistakes.
We welcomed their friends.
“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” Hebrews 13:2
DeVonti was always bringing home “strays”. These were kids who needed a ride home, or needed a place to hang after football practice, or guys who just wanted to spend the weekend at our house. As parents we were happy with this because we never had to wonder what trouble he was getting into. He was at home with his friends which gave us the opportunity to examine the character of his friends and converse with him later about how to choose friends wisely. Yes, it was expensive trying to feed his friends. Yes, they stayed up super late making all kinds of noise, making a good night’s sleep impossible. Yes, our schedules were inconvenienced. But they were safe in our home, abiding by our rules, being impacted by Godly values.
We set up memorial.
“Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.” Joshua 4:7
Anytime God blessed our family in any way, we paused to make a memory. Any time we faced a challenge, we paused to point it out so once we overcame the challenge we could acknowledge God and make a memory. Our lives are filled with “remember when God did…”. We were also quick to point out positive values and character mistakes that occurred around us. We didn’t just assume they knew better when they saw an athlete or celebrity do things that weren’t positive. We took time to compare it to godly values. This allowed our kids to have a healthy framework for discerning right and wrong.
What are some principles you’ve used to help raise awesome kids?