What’s The One Thing You Want Your Kids To Get?

Going through the Age of Opportunity on Wednesday nights as a part of Night Crossing has been really good for me. You see when it comes to parenting my young teenagers (or really in any area of my life), I’m one of those people who wants to do the right thing but easily gets off track. I set goals that I too quickly forget. I focus on the unimportant and insignificant at the expense of weightier matters. I need to be regularly reminded to focus on the right things. So leading last night’s discussion though chapter 10 entitled “Heart for God” was probably better for me than it was for anyone else in the room.

If you asked your teenagers what they hear you talk about most often, how would they answer? If you asked them what is it that Mom and Dad really care about, what would they say? Would it be getting good grades, doing your best, working hard, have a good attitude, stop putting things off, be responsible, or would it be developing a love for God? What do you talk about the most, get most worked up about, what brings out your passion?

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) has this great quote in which he says, “Man’s sensitivity about small things and his insensitivity about large things is evidence of a strange disorder.” Whatever name this disorder goes by, I think that most of us have it. Or at least I do. When it comes to parenting it is so easy to let minor things become major things. Now I don’t mean to say that the things on the list above are unimportant. It’s just that they are the most important thing.

In Psalm 27:4 King David writes…

One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

The “one thing” for David was to know God. I want that to be the “one thing” in my parenting. In other words, what I want for them, more than anything else in this world, is to know God. Again, it’s not that all the other things are unimportant. It’s just that their importance pales in comparison. Isn’t that Jesus’ point in Mark 8:36…

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?

What good is it for my kid to be get good grades, get into a great college, have a great family, make a lot of money, be voted citizen of the year, become mayor of Columbia if in the process he loses his soul?

In future posts I look forward to discussing some of the reasons we have a hard time keeping the main thing the main thing, and what we might be able to do cultivate in our teens a heart for God. But I want to leave you with one thing to think about: You cannot pass on what you do not possess. You can’t help your kids gain a heart for God unless you are growing in your love for him. Nothing deadens a kid’s faith quite like a parent pretending to be someone they aren’t, or a parent lecturing them on the same issues that they struggle with. And conversely nothing does more to spark a kid’s interest in God than to see Mom and Dad pursuing him. So it starts with us not them. Seek God, read your Bible, talk about what you are learning, be honest about your sin and failures, and make Sunday worship a priority. That’s a good place to start.

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