That’s what I’d been searching for. I was determined to learn the best way to parent our kids so they might turn out okay. No, more than okay—that they might grow up to genuinely love Jesus. Because I can’t help hoping that they’ll walk with God long after they’ve left our home. Like you, I’ve struggled and agonized over this very real concern.
I don’t want to leave them up to chance.
I don’t want to leave them up to their friends.
And I definitely don’t want to leave them up to this world.
So what is the best way to parent your kids so that they grow up strong and firmly grounded in their faith?
The Very Best Way to Parent
If I were to pick just one thing? The most important element of all? Surprisingly, it’s not going to be based on your background, your rules or lack of rules, your Christian activities, or even your church.
The best way for kids to grow up loving God is for them to grow up knowing they are loved by you. Deeply loved. Just the way they are.
Knowing they are loved will help carry your children through so many of the hard things they’ll encounter through their growing up years: hurts, trials, temptations, and knock-downs. These things will come. I wish they wouldn’t and we’ve dodged as many as we could, but there’s simply no way to avoid them altogether.
But if you have a loving relationship with your children? Then you can walk through those challenging times together. You don’t want them to walk it alone. With your arm around them, you can gently point them back to the love of God and to the Word of Truth.
The Difference Between Loving and Feeling Loved
Now I can hear you protesting, But obviously I love my kids. I’m their mother, after all! And, of course, you do.
But its much more than only loving our kids, they need to know - to feel right down to their toes – that they are loved by you.
I emphasize the difference because, quite honestly, it makes all the difference in the world. I’ve met far too many adults who will admit that, although they believe their parents loved them, they didn’t actually feel loved. In fact, for the most part they grew up feeling alone, misunderstood, and even rejected. You might have met some of these same adults too.
You might even be that adult. This might be your story. But don’t let it be the story for your children.
If you have one goal for your children? Let it be that they know, above all things, that they are deeply loved by you.
But isn’t it important for them to know they are loved by God?
Yes. Absolutely. And that will come out later in the series, but as for a starting place? Start with showering them with your love. Then the love of God will be so evident, it will hardly even need explaining.
How do you convince kids of your love for them?
Spend time with them. There are no substitutes. Not stuff. Not activities. Not sacrifice. Nothing replaces the necessary investment of your undivided, undistracted time. (25 Special Ways to Spend Time With Your Child )
Decide you like them. Not only love them. Your children want to sense that you enjoy them – with all their quirky ways, their mistakes, and their messes. You simply like them for who they are and how God made them.
Affirm them with words. Make it a daily habit to say something that communicates your love for them and builds them up. (Here are 101 Words of Affirmation Every Child Wants to Hear)
Listen to them. Sometimes you can say way more by not saying anything at all. By listening to your child, you’re communicating that you’re interested in their thoughts, fears, struggles, and ideas. Keep quiet and let them open up their hearts to you. (By Listening: How a Mom Can Show Love)
Care about their hearts. Even more than their behavior. While we desire for our children do the right things, it’s less about getting them to “act” a certain way than it is about encouraging them to have a heart for the right things.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11
So what would I say now after all my searching? All my studying? All my agonizing?
Love: it’s the perfect parenting approach.
Coming next: Raising Kids Who Genuinely Love Jesus
In His grace,
This is Part One of the series: Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids. If you’d like the posts from this series delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get the FREE eBook, 31 Days to a Better Marriage).