You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail… (Proverbs 19:21.)
Don’t let your children leave home without helping them to understand what God put them on this earth for. Don’t assume that your children know why they are here. Quiz them about it. Call a family meeting if need be, but get your children talking about their reason for being alive on planet earth.
Our children may think their purpose on earth is to become a footballer, a singer, a dancer, solicitor, an engineer or athlete, or even a bus driver. But as parents, one of our jobs is to help them see the bigger picture. There is nothing wrong with a career or a dream job, but that is not enough to satisfy the human soul.
We are to help our children develop a sense of purpose that is bigger than their pet attractions, their future fantasies, or even their dream careers. We must help them define what is important in life and help them do everything they can to accomplish it.
Give them a Bigger Vision
For instance, in our household over 15 years ago, my wife and I sat down with our children before they hit their teenage years and spelt out (in language they could understand) what our purpose as a family was going to be for the foreseeable future.
Since I was being led to plant a new Church in our Community, we agreed that our united family purpose was to worship and serve our God faithfully, and to the best of our abilities, help people to serve and worship Him too. I triedto help them to see how pleased God would be with our family and how much He would bless us individually and as a family, if we did what He was asking us to do.
I remember trying to paint a picture of the value of transformed lives to them. At that time, we didn’t know who else would be joining us to start this new Church-plant, so I shared with my children how I would love them to help their mum and I with this new Church plant.
My son, who was 12 at the time, agreed to help with the music if I bought a keyboard that he could learn to play. My daughter, who was 9, agreed to help with the children who come to visit. And, my wife agreed to do anything that needed doing.
That one discussion was all it took to place an enduring sense of purpose in my children. I am still blown away to see how they were animated to serve the Church joyfully and to give of their time, talents and treasures sacrificially.
Today, when I look at the impact our children have made in our Church, I am so grateful that God led my wife and I to give them a bigger sense of purpose when they were still fairly young.
The history of our Church cannot be written without an impressive list of the contributions our children have made to get the Church to where it is today. All because our children caught hold of an enduring sense of purpose at an early age!
Give them something to Live for
You toowillhave to find something that can give your children a reason to love life and serve people. If not, they may choose a corrupt or ignoble purpose, or even despair of life itself.
Why? Because life abhors a vacuum!
When young people don’t have a burning sense of purpose,they get fidgety and restless,andthe devil finds work for them. All you need to do is to look at the number of young people committing suicide in our society; or the number of young people in juvenile detention, to realise how devastating a lack of purpose can be for young people.
What to teach them
- Teach your children that they are here to glorify God with their lives.
- Teach them that their Creator put them here to help make a difference.
- Take them to charity events or food kitchens that need help and show them how to help.
- Challenge them to make their lives count on earth – to be kind, compassionate, generous, respectful, humble, creative and fair to all.
- Expose them to ordinary people who have done extraordinary things, to humble people who served humanity, and to people who are still making an impact in the world.
- Show them how to give. Show them how to serve. Teach them how to sacrifice certain things for people who don’t have as much as they do. Teach them not just to think of themselves, but to think more of others too.
Children with a strong sense of purpose:
• Are happier and more fulfilled.
• Are more focused and responsible.
• Are less distracted and more productive.
• Avoid time wasters and dream killers.
• Behave better and achieve more... because they’re doing what they are gifted to do and love it.
Helping your children to develop their own sense of purpose is never easy. They may even think that you are trying to control their lives. All you can do is continue to assure them that you have their best interest at heart – and as they get older they will come to appreciate your reasons for taking them on this journey.
Remind them often that you only want what is best for them and what God wants for them. Stay prayerful through the process, so that God can show you what to do and what not to do. Keep praying to hear His voice deep down in your heart, guiding your decisions and your discussions with your children.
Keep reading books, attending workshops or listening to other experienced parents whose wisdom might come in handy. God will see your heart andyourdesire to give your children the best upbringing possible, and He will help you.
Come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (Hebrews 4:16.)
Don’t let your children leave home without a clear and godly sense of purpose. It will helpthem to be more focused and productive through the ups and downs of life. It will also make help them choose a more intentional and responsible path.
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