Family Matters

FROM BEVAN SMITH

I once wrote a follow up course for new Christians called “Discovering the Light.” It was aimed at giving a new believer a core understanding of things like: Who God is, who Jesus is, Christlikeness, Prayer and Bible study. All good stuff but I have been reflecting on how I might do that differently, after a couple of decades have passed and my thinking about Christianity has matured.

The ingredients I consider to be missing are:

  • What it really means to love God (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength);
  • How to trust God with every aspect of our lives (Trust in the Lord and do good … – Psalm 37:3);
  • How to really know Christ (Philippians 3:8,10); and lastly
  • The importance of delighting in God (Take delight in the Lord … Psalm 37:4)

These ingredients are core to growing as followers of Christ and should be what we impart to the children that God has graciously given us.

We were blessed to have a very popular parenting course when our children were young. It gave us some structure to our parenting which meant we weren’t just making it up as we went along, despite it being perhaps a bit too formulaic. One of the ways it helped us was to view each situation of life as an opportunity to instil something into the life of our precious children.

When we came to consider whether we would send our kids to a secular, home or christian school we were concerned with how the world out there might negatively shape their life and thinking. We chose the local secular school, realising the risk, but determined to treat any situation that might arise (there were plenty) as an opportunity to teach and instil in their lives godly character and biblical values. While we certainly could have done this more, we feel this ‘situational parenting’ (for want of a name) is a really good idea.

A recent story illustrates this. Our eldest daughter who recently turned 30 was reflecting upon when she was a teenager and how Audrey took her on a weekly hour drive to and from piano lessons. Lynnea looks back and says it was “genius parenting because of all the input mum was able to talk about regarding all the issues she was facing at the time.”

I encourage you to use every situation you can.

However, in addition to using any and every situation to teach godly character and biblical values I would add in some of the things that need to be included in any rewrite of my follow-up course.

If your children are lured into some aspect of popular entertainment culture ie music – use those moments to teach that music is good but when things of the world compete for our love and devotion we need to LOVE GOD with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength.

When your children face a challenge ie bullying, use that moment to teach them how to TRUST GOD and do good even when they may want to exact revenge.

When your children experience turmoil use that moment to teach them to KNOW CHRIST (not just know about Christ) which will give them security and peace.

When negativity and discouragement inevitably come upon your child, use that moment to turn their attention to God and the blessings he pours into our lives and how we are to DELIGHT IN HIM more than anything else.

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