I remember the day we left the hospital with our first child more than 30 years ago. I looked at this sweet, helpless infant with a mix of awe and panic.

“Children are God’s gift,” I’d been told. “His reward.” And for years I entertained the idea that, like other gifts we are given in life, children were ours to keep. Really, what should be understood of them is that they are a LOAN. God loans us HIS children to nurture, teach, and train. They never did belong to us, but to Him.

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
— Deut. 6:6-7

As Christians, it is important to us that our children be instructed in the things of God. This framework ought to guide our entertainment, education, and social decisions we make for our children. God commanded that parents be very intentional in this responsibility, notably in His command to His people in Deuteronomy 6.

CLARIFY GOD'S COMMAND

Our children need to hear our faith stories--triumphs and struggles, mountains and valleys. We need to be talking about God’s word first-thing in the morning, and the last-thing before bed; when we are hanging out around the house or out and about town. We should be using everything at our disposal to teach our kids the truth about God’s word and His plan of redemption for a fallen world.

So often, with all our investing, we are tempted to take ownership of this process. We feel like our job as parents is to insure RESULTS with and in our children’s lives while our sole responsibility is to plant seeds and trust the growth to God. We need to be more concerned with what kind of parent we are being and becoming, than what sort of person is being produced by our parenting. Our decisions in parenting should reflect our desire for our children to know their Creator.d

FAITH IS A PROCESS, NOT A PRODUCT

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish,so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
— Isaiah 55:10-11

God is all about increase and outcome, fruit and harvest first in our own lives and also the lives of our children. And though we plant, and others water, it is God who causes the actual growth to occur. 

Our heavenly Father does not waste words or experiences as he prunes and cultivates, neither is He capricious or making up a plan as He goes. The One who designed your child knows him/her completely and has a plan in place for this stage of life.

 

PATIENCE IS NOT A FOUR LETTER WORD

I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
— Philippians 1:6

Graduation and the years immediately following can be a scary time for parents who may be worried that the faith they so carefully modeled may not stick. Don’t be like the child who dug up his garden seeds every day to see if they were actually growing, or who squashed the cocoon to see if there was really a butterfly in process. This is a time to take a step back, breathe deeply, and watch in faith to see what happens next.

Trust the seed of God’s word and His commitment to your child. Wait and see the miraculous way it is watered and lovingly tended, how those things germinating in secret begin to spring forth into new life and a fruit-filled life. Hold onto 

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