So, the youngest daughter was in the Caribbean last week with her mom and grandma. They were visiting an aunt who teaches school there.
And a text arrives where the daughter says, “I have a boyfriend!”
And I respond, “No, you don’t! Remember we said no dating until age 30.”
And she says, “The lady at the Thai restaurant wants me to meet her son. He’s my age.”
And I respond, “Well it’s a good thing you’re only visiting and it’s almost time to come home to Canada where he can’t follow.” I text back quickly (as if speed matters)
And she says “But don’t you love me enough to send me to see him in the Caribbean?”
And I say, “If he loves you he can pay for a ticket to come see you in Canada and btw we’re moving so he won’t know your address.” (wait when did we get to ‘love’, they haven’t even met?)
Then she laughs (via an emoji) and says, “I was just kidding. I don’t want to meet him but the lady said I was beautiful and she’d like me to meet her son.”
(relief sets in) I was sure it was a joke. I was hoping it was a joke. It was easier when she was a baby and all I had to worry about was seeing her fed, changed, sleeping and healthy. I did lose some sleep.
Now there’s boys around! I don’t want to worry about them yet. More sleep will be lost!
Parenting is part of discipling your child.
It’s the most important part and it’s not the job of the church. It’s the parents’ job and others like Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, friends, relatives and pastors only get to help. God has given us parents this awesome responsibility. And if we’re paying attention it scares us to death!
But the good news is we’re not in this alone. God is with us. Plus God has provided a family of Jesus followers to help us. But still we’re the #1 disciplers of our children.
And in this season of Christmas how do we disciple them?
Attendance at church events is really good. The traditions and teaching are a great help. Tradition instills a base that really helps.
But it’s more about what we do the other days of the week. Our children are discipled in their daily lives with us. They’re constantly watching us. It’s not intentional, they’re just there!
When our youngest was less than two years old I was driving with her in the car and another driver cut us off. I slammed on the brakes and she was jerked around in her car seat. Her response was to bark at the other driver, “Learn to drive!”
That wouldn’t have been so bad except I realized that she’d learned it from me as I often said it to drivers doing dumb or annoying things. Ooooops. She was learning what I taught unconsciously. Needed to rethink how I act.
But how about the conscious stuff? This Christmas season what can we do to teach them about Jesus and His birth? About how God sent His Son to connect us to Him.
Do we show our faith in Christ and love for God in how we spend our time, effort and money at Christmas? Do we do something for someone other than ourselves and our families?
Are there traditions that help in our household? Or can we try new ones that speak of God’s love and Jesus’ birth?
Every Christmas morning we start bright and early (okay, early anyway) by having all the kids into our room and we read the Christmas story. I admit I’m often pretty sleepy at that point but I believe it says something about Christmas being less about presents and other things when we put Jesus’ story first.
I know families that serve at food banks and soup kitchens that feed others at Christmas. We spend time regularly at a seniors’ home and on Christmas we’ve made a point to visit our friends there. Our faith is shown in what we do.
Here’s a tough one, do we have time for the person we don’t want to spend time with? Ouch, that question stings. It can be a coworker, neighbour, friend or even a relative. How we treat people really does disciple our children since they learn to do the same.
I remember as a child if someone came to the door of our house, my parents would almost dive behind furniture to avoid answering the door and having to talk to people they didn’t know or like. I’m sad to say that I’ve done that too and my kids have learned it. (okay not diving under the furniture exactly)
I will say there is some justification for it in the intrusion that sales people and some fraudulent company reps represent in our society. But it also says something about our lack of hospitality and openness to others. It’s even sad that we have that category of “others” in our society. Prejudice and misunderstanding grow from thinking of people as other. And our children learn it from us.
So, as we draw close to Christmas, what will I do to disciple my children in good ways?
How can it happen for you and yours?
God bless you and use you to bless others this Christmas season!