My firstborn son, Josh, received his drivers’ permit earlier this year. So here we were, in a parking lot. I asked my younger son to buckle up as his big brother was about to take over the wheel. When I turned around, this is what I saw. (See picture above).
I couldn’t help but laugh. What a perfect image of what I was feeling at that exact moment.
Every stage of raising these little ones is exciting but scary.
I’m no parenting expert as I’m still in the thick of it, and I’m learning new things every day. Thankfully, over the years, I have received some great advice from those who are both decades and even just a few years ahead of me. Either way, their wisdom is priceless and I’ll take it.
#1. Pray. Don’t ever underestimate the power of prayer. It really is the most powerful tool we have. Pray for the present, pray for the future. It’s never too early or too late to start praying for their future schools, colleges, friendships, spouses, careers, and ministries. If possible, set aside one day a week (or even a meal a week) to fast and pray specifically for their future. Let prayer be our go to and not our last resort.
#2. Protect them. Not just from obvious predators but from themselves.
Kids left to themselves and to their own curiosity may do things they normally wouldn’t do (even the best of kids).
Be involved and be present (as much as you can). We only have one chance at this. Innocence can be stolen in just seconds. We shouldn’t be paranoid, but we should be vigilant and wise.
#3. We are raising children to become adults. Not children to become bigger children. Give them age appropriate responsibilities. Washing dishes, clearing the table after they eat, folding their own laundry, vacuuming (the list is endless).
You may be able to hire a house cleaner now, but most likely, you were on your own when you went off to college or in the early days of your career.
Teach them to be good stewards of their home.
#4. Don’t rely on Sunday School alone. Two hours a week isn’t much time to teach our children everything they need to know. Teach them the Word of God practically through every day life experiences. Take advantage of every opportunity you have with your children.
Deuteronomy 6:6,7 tells us “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”
So, whether you are driving with your kids in the car, at home eating dinner or praying with them in the morning or before bedtime… be intentional and be engaged.
#5. It takes a village. Surround yourselves with good friends and family who are willing to pour into and be positive mentors to your kids. My husband and I might have made it through the parking lot with my son, but we handed the reigns over to our brother in law (Josh’s uncle) to venture out onto the real road.
So sit back and enjoy the ride. It’ll be over before we know it.