Raising Children for Eternity

Anyone with even one child can attest to the fact that raising children is no walk in the park. From the moment the doctor plops that messy little bundle in your arms you get a sense that dealing with that little mess isn’t going to be a mindless endeavor. Well, not if you hope to be any good at it.

I think I’m a much better parent now than I used to be. I’ve been at it for over eighteen years now. I should have grasped a hold of a few things. When Matthew and I had our first child, we had no idea what we were doing. I can remember our first diaper change at home included both me and Matthew, and my mother. It took us all three to get the job done.

When that same child was in preschool, I decided he must play little league baseball. He must. All the other kids in his preschool class were going to play. I couldn’t have them coming to school and talking about their batting averages and not let him be a part of all that, now could I? What kind of mother would I be? What if he was supposed to be the next Mickey Mantle? So I signed him up to play. It was a total bust. He hated it. We all did.

So we moved on to other things. Karate, swimming, Boy Scouts, piano lessons, drum lessons, trumpet, guitar, sports camp. We tried it all. I was convinced that it was my job to help my children find their passion… their calling in life. How could I do this if we didn’t try everything?

I have a different philosophy now, thank goodness. I still believe it is my job to help my children find their passion. I just believe now that their first passion should be Jesus. More than anything, I want them to love Him. The Bible tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and THEN all these things will be added to us. (Matthew 6:33) Whatever my children do, I want them to do it to the glory of God first. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

It’s about having a Kingdom mindset. I have a friend who weighs situations in life by how his life will be affected five years from now by them. His philosophy is that most things we worry about won’t matter five years from now. That’s good, but what about for eternity? What if we ask the question of eternity? How will what I do today effect my eternity or someone else’s?

Will it matter for eternity if my son makes a D in Geometry in tenth grade? Um.. no. I do understand that a D in Geometry won’t help his GPA, and won’t do much to get him into a great college, but again, eternity? I do want my children to live an abundant life here on earth, and to do that they need to achieve some measure of success in their education or in areas where they are gifted. Lots of parents talk about raising well-rounded kids. I have another great friend who tries to make sure that her kids are spending equal efforts on education, talent, and spirituality. I like that, except for one small change. I don’t want the spiritual to be just a third. I want it to pervade everything in my child’s life.

So, when we study, let’s do it as if unto the Lord. We offer only our best to Him. So to put forth anything less than our best is to shortchange the One we serve. And our talent? Our talent, whatever it is, has been given to us for the purpose of glorifying God alone. Not for selfish gain. And how about our relationships? As parents we worry about the friends our kids choose. But if our children are seeking the Lord first, then we can feel better about the kinds of people who bring joy to their lives through relationships. And what about that messy teen bedroom? All those clothes on the floor? Doesn’t everything we have come to us from the Lord? (Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of heavenly lights in whom there is no shifting of shadows. James 1:17) Pick up those clothes! We’re still working on that one.

The Lord has placed uniqueness into every child. His purpose and plan for each one is only theirs. I can try to help my kids find that, but they will be better off if I help them find Him. Finding Him will set them on their course not only for this life, but for eternity.

So what do you think?

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