(Whether a parent yourself, or a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, a neighbor, a teacher, a scout leader, or whatever your role in the lives of the children around you, this important series will give you valuable tips on how to influence those kids for the Lord! To access the entire “Bringing up Kids God’s Way” mini-series, please click here.)
We learned in last week’s lesson, Parenting God’s Way, Part 5e, Being a Spiritual Pillar, that one of the most important steps in helping your child to have a personal relationship with Jesus is to become a spiritual pillar for them.
The problem is, this thought scares people. They think that being a spiritual pillar means you are never bent, you never fall. Nothing could be farther from the truth, for we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23)!
No, spiritual pillars are often tempted. They go through things, too. They are weak, and they often fall. In actuality, this very fact can be used to help your children in their relationships with the Lord! How? Because sharing those experiences, both the times when you are victorious as well as the times when you fail, is an excellent way to help the children in your life learn to depend on Jesus!
First of all, a very important part of helping your kids learn about the Lord is for them to open up and share their struggles with you. If you don’t know what they are going through, it is hard to help them! Sharing your own successes and failures with your kids promotes this vital communication. After all, you can’t expect your children to openly share their lives with you if you aren’t open about sharing your life with them! Remember: we learn best by example. Even Jesus used this method for teaching: “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:15). If you sit down with your kids and share an experience from your own life, one that perhaps parallels something they are going through, this sharing experience teaches them, if nothing else, that it’s okay to open up to someone else!
The second advantage is that by your example, your child can learn to let God work in his or her life. Children, especially teens, tend to focus on themselves, and they tend to think others don’t go through the same things they go through. Sharing with your kids the struggles that you are going through brings you down to a level they can relate to. It helps them to see that struggling is a human thing, and they don’t need to get down on themselves about it. It helps them to see that God is constantly at work in YOUR life (“My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” John 5:15-18), and this helps them to learn to allow God work in their lives as well!
A third important advantage of sharing your successes and failures with your kids is that they will learn, by your example, how to admit when they are wrong. This isn’t an easy thing for any of us to do, and the earlier a child learns this important lesson, the better it will be.
A fourth priceless advantage is that it teaches humility on all sides. Your kids need to learn the truth of James 4:6: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” When you admit that you struggle too, they will see, in you, how God can work through a humbled heart. They will be much more likely to follow James’ advice: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10)
The fifth advantage to sharing your personal successes and failures is that this puts you in the position of learning something from your child (Ouch! Did someone say something about humility???). Your child may have a precious piece of advice for you that you aren’t hearing from other sources, and this, in and of itself, is an invaluable way of showing your child how valuable it is for them to have their own personal relationship with Jesus Christ!
Finally, sharing your own successes and failures with your child will help them to learn to become encouragers: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up . . .” (1 Thess. 5:11). It helps them learn to spot others in trouble and to look for those in need of a prayer or an encouraging word.
I am generally in the habit of sharing my successes and failures with my boys, and I have personally experienced the fruit of this. I’ve seen my boys begin to spontaneously give them problems to Jesus. They often come to me and admit it when they’ve done something wrong, and they are quick to ask me to pray for them when they struggle. Another amazing thing is that when I share my struggles with my boys, they usually just go away! So many times I’ve looked up and said, “Okay, which one of you was praying for me?” One or the other always grins. Other times when I’m feeling upset about something, one of my boys will come over and give me a hug. “It’s okay, mom,” he’ll say. “Just give it to Jesus!” And somehow, hearing it from the mouths of babes makes it much easier to do!
It works, friends! When we share our successes and failures with our kids, we take giant steps towards helping them with their own relationships with Christ! If you want to be that spiritual pillar for the children in your lives, then make it a habit to freely share your own successes and failures!
Join us next week for Bringing up Kids God’s Way, Part 6: The Relationship
God bless each of you abundantly as you seek to guide the kids in your life in the ways of the Lord!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Mother of two teens; Author and moderator for the tri-weekly newsletter, The Nugget, and the Scriptural Nuggets website ( www.scripturalnuggets.org ), Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org .
(To access the entire “Bringing up Kids God’s Way” mini-series, please click here.)