My Top Ten: Ways to Build Spiritually into Your Kids

4 12 2008

tpk-front2The Perfect Kid Series has spurred some great discussions around Epic. In parenting, I’ve made lots of mistakes, but along the way God’s taught me tons. Other than the two biggies of weekly worship and reading your Bible with the kids, here are a few thoughts from my Thursday lunch with JC….

1. Let Mercy Lead. Every great relationship is built on forgiveness. Our relationship with God is built on the forgiveness of Christ. Your marriage is built on the commitment to forgive your spouse of sins they haven’t committed yet. Let your kids experience grace and forgiveness firsthand from you in your home.

2. Allow Some Crazy
. I would rather give kids an open range than a small pen. Give them the freedom try new things, to make mistakes and learn from their mistakes. They will learn much more by doing than being told what to do.

3. Do Jesus and Sponge Bob. When the kids were little we mix out bedtime routine with prayers AND crazy fun made up stories. The kids would give me 3 characters (like Kim Possible, our Cat and Lara Croft) and I’d have to make up a story. Then we’d pray and sing a few worship songs. When you compartmentalize your faith you create two worlds. You don’t have your spiritual life and your other life…you just have your life.

4. Laugh A LOT. It’s tough to be a kid today. Let your home be a haven of fun. Make it a goal to be house that all the kids on the neighborhood want to hang out at

5. Catch Them Doing Good. Even more vital than correcting them when they do something wrong (which you need to do), parenting is about is encouraging them and building them up when you catch them doing something right.

6. Do Adventurous Stuff.
Following Christ is an adventure, so take some risks. We’ve given up TV together for 40 days; we’ve climbed mountains together, and taken cross-country vacations. Live in such a way that you will tell stories about your life together.

7. Date Your Spouse.
Sometimes parents say, “I’m better at being a mom, than being a wife.” Or “I make time to do things with the kids, but I just don’t have time to take my wife out on a date.” That breaks the heart of God and hurts your kids. If you take care of your marriage, you will take care of your kids. You are modeling the #1 example of what a Christ-Centered marriage looks like.

8. Be Unique. My three kids are uniquely wired by God to be radically different from each other and from us. Parenting is about a discovery of HOW God has gifted them, WHAT God is calling them to become and WHERE God is leading them to go. Help them listen to Jesus and discover His dreams for their life.

9. Dinner is Not About Food. It’s about connecting as a family. Kids grow spiritually when we purposefully plan ways to build spiritually into our kids (Family Nights. One-on-Ones, etc). Be intentional. Bring up topics and discuss them. Remember it’s not about doing what’s comfortable for you. It’s about doing whatever it takes to have an ongoing conversation with your kids about God, life and choices.

10. Get Authentic with Jesus. More than what you say, kids are watching how you live. Since the greatest thing that a kid your kid needs is Jesus, they are looking to you to discover what following Christ looks like…so honestly face your inner journey and struggles with Christ (your hang-ups, your sins and His grace). Share it. Be real. Kids aren’t looking for perfect parents. They are looking for honest ones.

Bonus: Be You! Avoid comparing your parenting to your friends or your parents. Your family will not look like mine and mine will not look like yours. Start traditions that are uniquely yours. The ONLY life that Christ wants you to live is YOURS.

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