“We trust that you love your family far too much to leave them where they are
when you know there is still more of God for them to experience.”
– Tom and Richard Blackaby, Experiencing God at Home
Leading Your Kids on Purpose
So much of our time parenting goes into managing our kids. We make sure they are fed, behaving, doing their homework, and getting to bed. We are running them from place to place. It is easy to forget our goals for our children.
Ideally, we want our kids to love God for themselves. We take them to church, pray with them before bed, and maybe read them the Bible. We do these things, but what does it really take to get them to love God for themselves?
Reputation of Pastor Kids and Missionary Kids
Unfortunately, we have all heard the reputation of missionary kids and pastor kids. While the parents are off doing great work for the Lord, these kids are usually the most obnoxious, rebellious, problem children of any group. While this is not always true, it is the reputation for a reason.
- If these are the results the Christian professionals get, what hope do we have?
- How do we get our kids to learn to love God for themselves?
How to Lead Your Kids To Love God For Themselves?
I want to propose many of these parents are having their personal experiences with God apart from their kids. We should let our children be integrated in our adventures with God.
As we get our kids to taste and see that God can to use them, these God experiences become fuel for their own personal relationships with God the rest of their lives.
What It Can Look Like
I’ve mentioned before that my family had lived in Asia to start a business to help teenage orphan girls. Our own girls were five and seven at the time we left. But, even at such a young age, we let them into the process. They celebrated with us when God did something great and knew those times when we didn’t know what God was doing. We prayed with them about details and decisions.
Then it happened. One need we had was to get a farm to house these girls and give space for them to have jobs. During a time we were exploring where this farm may be, my oldest daughter had a dream.
In that dream, a foreigner gave us a farm, which had a lot of fruit trees, water in front, dogs on the property, and a three-story building. She was so sure of this dream that we felt God was using her to help give us direction.
While this was a fun dream, it was difficult to know what to do with it. Do we find any foreigner we can and see if they have a farm? If they did, would we then ask them to give it to us? The dream was exciting, but impractical in moving forward. Still, we prayed into it and still included our daughters into the process.
Dreams Can Come True
A year and half later, one of our interns met someone new. This person asked our intern what he was working on. He answered he was helping us and that we wanted to get a farm to help teenage orphan girls. This man immediately replied, he had a farm and would give it to us.
Our intern quickly turned to introduced him to us, and we set up a time to see the farm the next day. For our daughter, the farm was like walking in her dream. The farm had 2,000 winter peach trees. There was lake in front. Guard dogs were all over the farm. And, there was a three-story dorm. This was the farm God showed my daughter in her dream. It would be hard for her to forget how God used her in a big way.
How It Normally Happens
This is an extreme example, but let’s think how we normally treat our children. We would not have included them in the decision making process for this vision. We would not have valued their input in the decision. And, we often don’t include them in the process of bringing the vision to reality.
Our children are often being dragged around while we try to have an adventure with God. They don’t know why they are moving around; they often only know that God moves them from their friends or makes their parents spend many hours away from them. It’s hard to want a relationship with a God like that.
Let Our Kids Experience God
We know that God is a wonderful friend who comforts us in our hard times, who celebrates the people we are, and who takes us on incredible adventures. We have a chance to bring our kids into these same adventures with God and learn how to interact with Him. While they are still young, we have this great opportunity to help guide them into this process.
As we incorporate our children in our God adventures, we encourage them to lean into more of Him. They can taste and see for themselves that He is good and He desires to be with us. At some point, they will need to embrace this for themselves, but the more they experience God, He becomes less of the religion of their parents and more of a personal ongoing relationship they are being invited into.