Saturday, February 4, 2012

Married (With Children) - Part II

The way you live your life has more impact on your children than you will ever know, more than anything you will tell them. Your presence in their lives as an example is critical. Your absence can be equally impactful; if you are not there to teach them, schools, the media, and their peers will fill the void. Children are naturally curious; they have questions. If you are not an integral part of your children’s lives, they will get their answers elsewhere. Since they will not always vocalize their questions (ask my parents about THAT?? ewww!) you need to be proactive. Proverbs 14:26 says: In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And his children will have refuge. 

The example you set can be a refuge for your children. Of course, it’s easiest to be a positive example to your kids when you spend time with them. You need to include them in the things you do so they can see how you interact with your spouse and with others, see how you treat people and handle situations. They need to see that the way you act does not contradict the things they learn in church and Sunday school. Study the Bible, behave in a way that embodies God’s designs, seek his will for your life - and then talk to your kids. Tell them why you treat people the way you do, why you live the way you live. Explain to them - scripturally - why you act this way and do things like putting your spouse’s needs before your own, giving to charity, volunteering your time for worthy causes and treating the people you meet day in and day out with love and respect.

It’s also vital for you to give them some of your time. Dinners together are crucial, and family game- or movie nights and playing with them let them know that they are a valued part of the family. These are the times when you can talk to them; Involve them in family decisions, ask questions, engage them. Plus, If you are freely giving them attention they won’t have to act out to get it. Think hard about that.

Regarding Abraham in Genesis 18:19, God says:

For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.
How can you “command your children in the way of the Lord” if you are never with them? How can God bring about his plans and fulfil his promises if you aren’t leading them in the way they should go? The society we live in makes time our most valuable resource - and the most misused and squandered one. Time is often spent due to forces that seem beyond us. Military parents are deployed around the world, business trips take people away from their families, but we always have a choice. That said, when quantity is an issue, strive for quality; seek God’s guidance in how you spend your time. Invest yourself heavily in your family and especially in the lives of your children, knowing that few things - if any - matter more.

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