It’s that time of year when my news feed floods with countless pictures of kids going back to school. What an exciting time filled with expectations and high hopes. The year is new, as are the backpacks, pencils and clothing. There is knowledge to be learned, sports to be practiced and events to attend.
But, before we get pulled into a new season of constant busyness, academic achievements and sports, we all need to take a moment, step back and ask ourselves: what end are we working towards? It's way too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, year-to-year obligations that we forget to focus on the end goal: What do we view as success when raising our kids?
When your son or daughter is heading off to college, or the workforce, or on their own for the first time in their lives, what kind of man or woman have you prepared them to be?
Every investment, every priority you are teaching them now is slowly stacking stones on top of one another, laying the foundation for the rest of their lives. This is not a responsibility we should be taking lightly or passing off to others.
As we launch into a new school year, I pray we do not fall for the skewed priorities of the world around us! Our lives are not about the here and now and our education, pastimes and passions shouldn’t be either!
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. - Colossians 3:1-4
We have been given new life in Jesus. Now our lives are not about living for earthly pleasure. Instead, they are about God and living for him and his glory!
But, do our lives model those priorities?
Before you send your brood off on the bus this year, or drive them to school in the coming days, stop.
SPEND TIME IN GOD'S WORD.
TALK WITH YOUR SPOUSE.
THINK ABOUT THE LIFE YOU WANT TO HELP YOUR CHILDREN LEAD.
Look at your lifestyle and see if that is the foundation you want to be laying in their life. Is God's Word the blueprint for everything you do or are you blindly following the world's path?
I like to picture the day when my husband and I drop off our first born at college. What would I consider success?
- I pray that he has a deep love and respect for the Word of God and that he can and DOES read it for himself every day! (Matthew 4:4)
- I pray that we’ve prepared him to live a life marked by the fruit of the Spirit, that he has the self-control to not look at porn just because everyone else does, that he is filled with joy that doesn’t depend on his circumstances, that he is patient, kind and filled with the love of Christ. (Galatians 5:13-25)
- I pray that he is a man who works hard and invests time into the things that matter for eternity and isn't distracted by TV and entertainment. (Philippians 3:12-14, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
- I pray he has discernment to choose friends wisely understanding that they can have a huge influence over the choices good/bad that he makes. (Hebrews 10:23-25)
- I pray that he sees his whole life as an offering to his Savior, Jesus, and that whatever path God sends him down, whether a doctor, a teacher, an engineer, a missionary or a plumber, that he sees his job as a platform of his real vocation: a disciple-maker of Jesus. (Matthew 28:16-20)
- I pray that he isn’t afraid of trials, of hardships or even persecution for the name of Jesus but that he considers everything a loss compared to knowing him. (Philippians 3:7-11)
We as parents aren’t just here to survive the school years with our kids. We have the awesome responsibility to bring up deeply rooted disciples of Jesus. This is not an easy task but there is no bigger opportunity to make an impact on an increasingly Christ-less next generation. Don’t let the worldly pressures push you into spending your time or energy focused on earthly priorities while missing opportunities to invest in heavenly ones.
So, take that picture of your kids as they head off to school this year. Smile and encourage them! But, most importantly, remember that the ultimate goal is to launch them off on the life-long adventure of following Jesus. Give them the best education possible this year - invest in training them in righteousness. There is no better investment!
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. - Proverbs 9:10