This is a picture of my kids taken just before Christmas 2006 (Left to right) Britton (14), Trey (17), and Amy (20).
The Bible says children are a blessing from the Lord (Psalm 127:3-5) and grandchildren are a crown to the aged (Proverbs 17:6). God also says that the purpose of marriage is godly offspring (Malachi 2:15) and that is why a husband and wife are to stay married and devoted to one another for life.
Jokingly, I’ve had older people tell me that grandkids are “The reward for not ending the life of their own children when they were young or during their teen years.” I don’t know about that yet, but I am looking forward to finding out if it is true.
I can tell you this about my kids, I thank God for all three of them! They are (After Jesus and my wife Pam) THE joy of my life! I love them unconditionally… am proud of them catagorically… and decidedly devoted to them. There is nothing they can ever do that will ever make me quit loving them… EVER… NOTHING! There is no doubt in my mind that all three of them ARE a blessing from God!
An old friend of mine once said, “You’ll never know what kind of parent you were until your children have raised their children.” I think his point was that the only way to know if you did your job well was to see what kind of children your children produce (Hmmm). Conversely (Or in support), Dr David Jeremiah wrote in his book Exposing The Myths Of Parenthood, “Parents take too much credit… and too much blame… for how their children turn out.”
Thousands of books have been written about raising kids and most of them have decent advice. But I’m not sure any of them provide hard and fast rules that apply to all situations for all parents with all children. It seems to me like kids come into families hard wired to a degree. Of course family dynamics influence them powerfully, but bottom line every kid is a unique gift from God that has a personality, bent, and passion that (At best) should be molded and directed by their parents so that they are “godly offspring.”
Now think back when YOU were young… when YOU were a teenager… when YOU were in college. What did YOU do that YOUR parents never knew or found out about? Where there things YOU did that are at least a little bit embarrassing? Are there things in YOUR past you really hope and pray your mom never finds out about? Are there things you have kept hidden from your kids… or possibly even your spouse? Probably…
I’ve said many times if I have an original thought I’d tell you. Well… as far as I know this next sentence is original with me (Take note because it might be the only one I ever have). “Don’t be surprised if your kids do anything less than what you did growing up!” And all God’s people said… OUCH!
The hope and prayer of every parent is that their children won’t make the mistakes they made growing up. But they WILL make mistakes (Just like you and I did), but hopefully by God’s grace their mistakes won’t be catastrophic.
So what’s the purpose of this post Pastor Ron? Good question and easily answered. Here are my reasons…
First… When it comes to your kids (Or grandkids), remember what you were like growing up and be merciful and gracious to your children (See Ephesians 6:4).
Second… Love your children (Or grandchildren) unconditionally. By that I mean teach them this… “The reason I love you is because you are my child… PERIOD.” Do NOT teach them by your words and actions that your love for them is based on their grades… who they marry… their athletic ability… their college major… the profession they choose… or how “good” they are. If you do that, you’re setting yourself (And them) up for a major meltdown.
Third… When they fail, LOVE THEM THROUGH IT! No matter what… love your kids!!
Fourth… Be there for them when they need you. As they mature they will start to fly solo. I’m learning that is hard. They will need you less and less. One day they may need you again. Be there for them… support them however is needed… and then allow them to fly solo again. Support your kids for whatever length of time God has given them to you. So be careful not to burn bridges with your children so that they can get to you when they need you.
Last… Pray for them, don’t prey on them. Your kids aren’t you! God has given them their own Gift, Call, and Passion. Don’t you dare manipulate them to do what YOU think is best. They might do it, but in the long run it’ll drive you from them. By praying for them you are putting them in the hands of One who loves them more than you do… God.
My children have… and will… make mistakes. Big deal… they’re my kids and I will always love them no matter what! I want the very best for them, so I try to guide them the best I can. At the same time I am doing my best to leave their future totally in God’s hands. To this point, all three of my children (Just like yours for you) have caused me tears AND more joy than I could ever imagine! I don’t regret any of them being my children and I never will. They are proof for me of Psalm 127:3-5!
Oh… one more thing. Be careful you don’t judge other parents harshly when they have bumps in the road with their kids. Until you’ve walked in their shoes and lived their life you don’t know what you would do in their situation. Not only that… you don’t know what you’ll be confronted one day that might bite you on the rear end if you’re not careful.