As a pastor and counselor, I get asked all the time, "What can I do for my kids to help them succeed?" This is an easy one for me to answer, because the bulk of my ministry is to educate adults about what success in life really is! Success is summed up in Matt. 22:37-39-by the quality of our relationships. It is no different with children! They may have slightly different relationships than adults, but the quality of them is equally important. In this series, I will expand on the 11 key relationships that will make or break your child. It is these 11 areas that you as a parent must monitor, promote, and enlist. Since there are 11, this will be delivered in three parts, which include relationships with persons inside the home, those outside the home, and outside factors that influence them greatly.
Today's topic covers those relationships "inside the home."
God is the most important relationship in your kids' life, but they have to be trained and developed in what they believe. As the parent, they need to get the essentials from you -- what they think about God, how they perceive Him in their lives, who He is, what He does and doesn't do, and so on. This should not be delegated only to the church or other family members. Show your child how to have a real relationship with God. They need to know how to read the Bible and hear the Lord speak through it. They need to learn to pray and watch God answer. They need to know how to confess their sin and sense God's forgiveness. They need to know how to serve the Lord and feel the pleasure of God when they do. They need to know how to worship and adore God and sense His presence. Teach your children how to practice the spiritual disciplines so that their faith can be their faith instead of just yours put on them. When I was raising my own three girls, I wrote Spiritual Disciplines of a C.H.R.I.S.T.I.A.N. in order to help young Christians know how to learn to love God with a real relationship. I hope you find this resource useful to you and others in your life.
2. Parental Unit - Father and Mother
I have stated in many of my writings that there have been numerous studies conducted that continually prove parents as the most powerful influence in a child's life. Your children need you to be positive forces for good in their life, but often parents don't feel powerful, and they end up squandering it. As the relationship changes as they go through puberty and towards adulthood, your children will need to express independence from you, but you get to pick the times and placed for that to happen. This is extremely difficult to do if you do not have a good relationship with your children. This is applicable to step-parents as well. It is important for step parents to play an active role for good in their own children, as well as the spouse's children. If this is new or difficult for you, seek out counseling and other books and resources to work toward building healthy relationships with your step-children. Two good ones are Parent Wars and Loving Your Stepfamily by Dr. Don Partridge.
Spend time finding activities that you can do with the kids, what I refer to as "with" activities. My father was not huge on the "talk with" piece needed in great relationships, so he spent time working with me and playing with me. This was great -- it worked for both of us, and he remains one of my best friends as an adult today. I know of one father who developed and maintained his relationship with his boys through his wallet. He bought dirt bikes when the boys were small and they would go to the desert and ride. It was glorious! When the boys got tired of dirt bikes, he sold them and bought jet ski's and took the boys to the lake. I remember when the oldest boy was about 18, he asked his father if he could take the jet ski's to the lake with some of his friends. His father very wisely said, "Those jet ski's are my jet ski's, so if you are inviting me to bring my jet ski's to the lake with a group of your friends, lets go! But if you want to take my jet ski's to the lake without me, that won't work." His son quickly said, "Dad, of course we want you to come and enjoy time at the lake with me and my friends!" Get involved and stay involved in your kids' lives.
Siblings truly influence and change each other. An understanding brother or sister is an incredible blessing. An evil brother or sister paves a bad road for all her brothers and sisters. Work with the sibling dynamic and understand it. Help your children to have the tools to talk to one another and resolve conflict. The dynamics of older siblings hearing rebukes from the younger ones is very helpful. Your youngest children often have very little opportunity or means to speak to the powers in their life. You need to find a way for them to tell you what is really going on with them and to them. Your younger children may be being bullied in your own family; you need to know if this is happening. Your children will not necessarily be best friends, but they should not be sworn enemies. Be very careful about bringing into your home a child that is trained in evil who will re-train your children. Many times the parents are immune from the evil, but the children are not. Be very careful when you change the dynamic of your family. If your family is toxic and having a difficult time navigating conflict or communicating, I highly recommend going to a good Christian counselor, such as Holly Eaton of Principles To Live By. Counselors are highly trained in these areas and give you tools to work with for better relationships.
Next week, we will cover relationships outside the home that need to be fostered and enlisted to help your children become the best versions of themselves that they can be. Stay tuned!
I look forward to interacting with you during your spiritual journey. Please email me at email@example.com to let me know how God is working in and through your life. Keep learning and growing in wisdom and in truth; I'm confident that your greatest life is just ahead.
In His service,
Pastor Gil Stieglitz
Allow Us to Bless YOU!
A free preview to:
The Keys to Grapeness:
Growing a Spirit-Led Life of Success
by Dr. Gil Stieglitz
Many people have the wrong definition of a successful life, one based upon the world's measurements: piles of money, fame, power, beauty, possessions, and the like. I want to suggest that Jesus gave us a very different definition of success. In Matthew 22:37-39, he said the two greatest commandments are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. In two short sentences Jesus tells us the secret to a successful life-success is filling our lives with loving relationships. Join Gil Stieglitz as he takes you through the practical aspects of the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23, God's keys to "grapeness" in life and relationships.