In light of some of the happenings of the last week, I have been contemplating some of the things that I want to teach my son. Over the years, it seems that so many things have changed-from the way we view ourselves, our relationship with others, our country, and our world. The digital age has brought us closer than ever to the rest of the world, while also bringing a world of problems to our backyard. I think in an effort to make our world ever more efficient, politically correct, and "smarter" we have lost touch with some of the basic aspects of our humanity.
In an effort to get back to basics, I have been thinking of some of the things that I would like to teach my son. Here are a few of the ideas I have come up with:
1) "A man will leave his father and mother..." Genesis 2:24
I don't know about you, but I have always thought it was the woman who left her family to begin a new family with her husband. So, whats the difference? Honestly, does a woman every stop being a "daddy's girl" or going to her parents when she needs advice? A woman is forever connected with her family, not that a man just ignores his family after marriage, but he becomes the head of his own house, and his family is entrusted in his care. The man has a huge responsibility in the family, and I have to be prepared to let my son go, when the time comes (hopefully in a long time, but then again, he has been asking when he is going to be allowed to get married-he is 4, by the way).
2) "Be strong and courageous, do not fear...I will be with you." Joshua 1:6
We live in a scary world. But we can't hide out in our homes and just try to ignore all the bad things that are going on around us. God commanded Joshua, the young leader of the Israelite nation to be strong and courageous. God gave the people of Israel promises of a great land, but it wouldn't come without a fight. Not much in this life comes without a fight. If we seek The Lord in what we do and we are confident that we are fulfilling His plan for our lives, we can be confident in our steps, even when we face giants!
3) "Choose this day whom you will serve...As for me and my house, we will serve The Lord..." Joshua 24:16
There are lots of worldviews going around in our world today. The Pilgrims may have come to America for religious freedom, but I wonder if they knew it would become quite so diverse! As a melting pot, America draws in people from all over the world, and we have to accept that. I don't have a problem with giving everyone the right to make their own choice about their beliefs, but I want to teach my son to stand firm in hs own beliefs. We can't control the actions or beliefs of others, but we can determine to follow God's commands in our own lives.
4) "I (God) desire mercy, not sacrifice." Hosea 6:6
Have you ever read Hosea? What a trip! If you ever thought you had God figured out, think again! It is human nature to want rules to follow (and break), a set of guidelines by which we can judge ourselves and prove ourselves worthy. We want to show that we did more good than bad, so we must be OK in God's sight. Even those of us who know that that isn't the way of The Lord find ourselves justifying ourselves, and often judging others based on the rules we think are the most important. God commanded the Israelites to offer sacrifices for their sins, but it wasn't their sacrifice that saved them, it was their faith in a God who shows mercy. When we look at others, and ourselves, how do we view them-by how they fit into our miniscule view of what God is, or with mercy, knowing that they, like us, come from a long line of sinners who need God's grace. We can't let our own preconceived notions of what pleases God prevent us from truly serving him.
5) "If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat." 2 Thes. 3:10
It's pretty simple-you work, you eat; you don't work, you don't eat. God put all of us here for a reason, and He expects us to do our part. Now, at times, things happen, and we may ned to rely on the generosity of others to get us through, but even in the midst of crisis, we must prayerfully consider if we are doing all that we can, or are we letting our crisis be our crutch. May I never get in the habit of doing for my son what he is perfectly capable of doing for himself.
What a challenge we have as parents. These little lives that we are nurturing will one day grow up, and they will be leading our country and our world. The lessons that we teach them today will impact future generations. It is both a responsibility and an honor. Let us never stop praying for our children or ourselves!