1. The Influence of Good Friends
When I was a kid and would have friends from the neighborhood over to my house, my mom would always ask me questions about the friends when they left.
I never knew why she did it until I was a teen. She was screening my friends! She would talk to my friends and talk to their parents, not in an interrogative manner, but a friendly way. She would reach out and connect with them. She knew something very important about the power of friends and the power of influence. “Don’t fool yourselves. Bad friends will destroy you” (1 Corinthians 15:33, CEV. Choosing the right friends is one of the most important decisions we can make as adults, and which friends our kids have is especially important.
Looking back on my childhood. I would go so far as to say my mom selected my friends for me. She never looked at a class or team picture and pointed out whom I could or could not hang out with, but she would always ask questions. “Tell me about Mike. What’s he like in school? Who does he hang out with?” I never thought anything of it. Mom just knew. She was inquisitive but not invasive.
That’s how we need to be as parents, and “Who is . . .” and “Tell me about . . .” are great conversation starters.
3. The Value of Self-Control
We like immediate rewards instead of waiting for better ones. We have a tendency to rush into decisions for the immediate pleasure rather than delaying our gratification for a later time.
In his best-selling book Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman discusses the battle between impulse and restraint, desire and self-control, ego and humility and gratification and delay. He goes on to point out the value of “delayed gratification.”
Helping our kids defer the immediate reward will help them as they mature into adults. The speed of life and our culture caters to the “If I want it now, I should have it now” mentality.
Drive-through, fast food, Stop ‘n’ Go are all reminders that we can get in, get what we want and get out. Choosing good now, though, will remove the option of better at a later time.
Teaching our children self-control and helping them delay gratification will give them a healthy process of behavior as they develop into mature adults.
However, modeling this behavior is the real key. For example, if you are a parent who shops until you drop, you will probably have a child who will cry until you buy.
3. The Process of Spiritual Growth
Ephesians 6:4 tells us, “Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.” The reminder for us as parents is twofold. First, take them by the hand––guide them, direct them, show them the way.
Second, we must know the way! When I was a children’s pastor, there were questions I would frequently hear parents ask that went something like this: “I don’t know what to teach my kids about God…
…What steps should I take?”
…Where should I start?”
These are great questions to ask! So, to answer them, I would say begin with 4 steps - know, grow, serve, share. And, If you click on the books below, you can download all four of them for free so you can begin walking with your child on their spiritual journey today. And, if you want to go deeper, you can download the extended version of the books here.
Photo Credit: shutterstock.com Image ID: 160082861 C Warren Goldswain