Have you ever been driving somewhere and suddenly realized that you had arrived at your destination, but had no actual memory of getting there? Sometimes, we will drive a routine path and be so caught up in our thoughts or conversation that we don’t really pay attention to how we got there. Or maybe we are on auto-pilot and forget where we are going at all and end up in an entirely different place than we had originally purposed. I remember a few years back when my children were small and this happened to me quite frequently. I was in the midst of a three-year stretch without sleeping through the night more than a handful of times. I was so physically exhausted that I would fall asleep at stoplights, waiting for the light to turn green. Often I would be driving my oldest to school and realize that I was pulling into the parking lot without really remembering the drive at all. It was frightening and disconcerting to feel so out of control and my relief was great when sleep returned to my life and I returned to being a safe and conscious driver!
The path of parenting can often mimic this experience. We can become so caught up in the routine day-to-day activities that we go days without consciously thinking about the destination we are attempting to reach. The most fearful ending to our years of parenting will be to reach the end of our years with our children and realize that we missed the destination entirely. The years will have flown by and we will have squandered the opportunities God has given us to properly train our children and there will be no going back, no second chances. I can think of nothing more heartbreaking than to realize we’ve missed the boat and our children are ill prepared for life as adults in a world that is all too happy to provide them the training we’ve neglected, only with a far different result. Where we wanted to teach them righteousness, our world will delight in teaching them to love evil and pursue earthly pleasure.
As our children grow older, my husband and I are ever more cognizant of the shrinking number of years we have left with them. Every moment becomes precious, every day together an opportunity to pass on the things that are of utmost importance. If your children are small, I encourage you to start early. If your children are older, don’t waste another minute. Be purposeful in the things you choose to participate in as a family. Make daily family worship time a top priority. Choose activities wisely and don’t give away all your free time as a family. Guard your time together carefully and be wary of those time wasters such as television. Think about what you want your children to know and teach their children some day, and talk about those things with them. Be prayerful about your educational choices, whether they are in public or private school or are homeschooled. Be diligent about spending time with your children. Know their hearts and what motivates them. This can only be accomplished by purposefully planning time with them and talking to them and diligently teaching them God’s word. Do you know what your children’s dreams are? Do you know who their friends are? What vision do you have for your children and what are you doing to reach those goals?
One of our family’s touchstone verses is Proverbs 29:18 “Without vision, the people perish”. I believe this verse is very applicable to parenting. If we have no destination in mind for our children, Satan will choose one for us, and it won’t be a happy ending. Take some time today and dream a little…catch a godly vision for your family and then make a commitment to be purposeful in how you raise your children. Raising godly children won’t just happen…it takes purpose and vision and wholehearted commitment to following God’s instruction. If we devote ourselves to this, the rewards will be beyond anything we can imagine and we will impact the world and God’s kingdom for generations to come. What could be more important than this?
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