I’m just about finished reading Dr. Kevin Leman’s book “It’s Your Kid not a gerbil”, and I definitely recommend it. Especially if you’ve not read anything by him before, it’s incredible stuff. But even if you’ve read all his previous books, this one is a great read. At some points, you get the feeling “I’ve heard this before”, because each time he’s saying a similar concept in a slightly different way. You definitely get the message by the end of the book. Parenting young children, especially during their first 6 years, is worth all sorts of sacrifices to have time/energy to building relationships with them, and developing their character/instilling a love for God.
We definitely live in a world where that is not seen as a priority. As adults, we’re pressured to make sacrifices to “get ahead” financially, so that we can build a solid foundation for our future family. Working extra hours are applauded/often required, and missing out on family time today is seen as worth-while for the vague notion of hog-tying a better tomorrow. As parents, we can be pressured just as much to focus on comparing our children to all the children around them. As seen in the most recent issue of “Parenting” magazine, our culture is not a great guide for what matters most:
This past weekend, my wife and I were able to hear Free Methodist Bishop David Roller do some storytelling. Part of his story involved Moses, and God’s people doing the work of Egypt’s brick-makers. Part of the role of Moses, was to announce that the people of God were intended to do much more things than build the bricks for the Egyptian Empire.
One of the greatest things we can do for our children, especially during these younger years, is to raise them differently than the world suggests. To let go of pressure to raise them into the next incredible brick-makers for whatever empire will pay them enough. To announce by how we raise our children, that there are more important things than clocking in and out, inventing the next big thing, or rising to an athletic/talent star. To not only guide them that direction, but to model it to them as well.
More important things like loving, and knowing they are loved. Like becoming a young man or woman of character, and reflecting the goodness of God to His creation/children. Like receiving their eternal identity as children of God. Like soaking in every possible moment with mommy and daddy, and knowing mommy and daddy are soaking those moments in as well. Every day that passes will change how our children are held by us.
May we each find new ways to get our family off the wheel this week…to become more than just brick-makers for an Empire they were not born for…:)