Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Plea for Multi-Generational Parenting pt. 1

In recent days I have seen several grandparents brokenhearted when grandchildren choose paths that are culturally, but not morally or biblically pleasing. And it causes so much pain. And these are fine Christ-following people, and so you wonder what went wrong. Should we expect our children and grandchildren to follow in the way that we lead them in?

Psalm 78:5 "For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; 6 That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, 7 That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments..."

I realize that there are no guarantees in parenting, no perfect parents and no perfect kids. And I definitely don't claim to have all the answers in my five or so years of parenting. But I see the trend of apostasy among our young people (upwards of 80%), and it is alarming! And so as a parent, I ask, what can we do? What can I do now to help pass on the faith later. Over the next three or four posts, I would like to offer some suggestions.

1) We must parent with our grandchildren in mind. Even though my children are three and five years old, I must think about how to communicate biblical truth to their children, and their children's children. This will require extra effort. Parenting is hard work, no doubt; but to do it biblically, we must begin to think further ahead than their college years. Going the extra mile will be required. We must think harder, search harder, work harder than is the culturally expectation of parents.

I think it is fair to assume that children left to themselves will practice less of the faith that we taught them. So we should shoot for overkill. Not in a smothering kind of way, but simply in a blood-earnest, seizing the moment, passionate to use every minute kind of way.

I think this will mean that we are intentional about establishing family traditions that will be markers of faith that can be carried on to our grandchildren. The Israelites had markers posted, so when their children asked about them, they could continually tell the story of God's deliverance. Are their traditions around holidays, or weekly traditions that allow the story of our faith to be retold? Is the decor of your home pointing to Christ? Do we use weekends and leisure time and vacations as ministry opportunities? We must share our stories of God's deliverance in our own lives, not just our testimonies. Our children should also have milestones in life that we make much of as they grow. Things, events, times that they can look back on and see Christ working in their lives. As parents we must continually help our children to see when God is working. And we must continually provide those opportunities for them to serve the needs of others and watch Him work.

I know it's cliche' but a failure to plan, is a plan to fail. Evaluate early if you are planning for your grandchildren!

Thanks for reading...

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