One must learn to flip a McDonald's burger, but a person can have a baby without any experience or training!
We zealously nurture our newborns. We monitor every breath; respond to their faintest cry.
But, once "Junior" is off to school, we become immersed in matters such as work, career, and ministry.
If not careful, we find ourselves orbiting our offspring the way satellites circle the globe. When the 10 o'clock news anchor asks, "Do you know where your children are?" Most of us say heartily, "Yes! They are surfing the web, or glued to the cell phone, or conquering the latest video game. Me? I'm 'vegging,' watching some mindless television program, too tired to move."
The 10 o'clock question should be, "Parents, do you KNOW your children?" Furthermore, do they know you? Do you discuss your hopes, dreams, passions, and fears with them?
Scripture challenges us to train and disciple our children. "Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it," (Proverbs 22:6). Deuteronomy 6:7 tells us to disciple them every day—while walking, talking, or driving to the mall!
Psalm: 78: 1–8 also reminds us to tell the next generation about the Lord so that their children may know of Him.
Ministries such as Focus on the Family and Family Life Today encourage us to make discipleship a lifestyle. There are also other resources, such as the books Faith Training: Raising Kids Who Love the Lord by Dr. Joe White and Habits of A Child's Heart by Valerie E. Hess.
Dunigan's Top Ten
(Add your own ideas!)
- LEAD BY EXAMPLE: Your kids watch and model you!
- BE THERE FOR YOUR KIDS: Make a date. Listen and talk to them. Let them know they are important!
- EAT DINNER TOGETHER: Not in front of the television, and not standing up. Don't always talk about work. Be interested in their day.
- HAVE FUN: Laugh, be silly. Play a board game, or tell stories from your childhood.
- KNOW THEIR FRIENDS AND WHEREABOUTS: Invite the gang over regularly. Get to know them and their families. Ask questions! Listen!
- HAVE YOUR OWN PRAYER AND WORSHIP: Besides your corporate worship at church or youth group.
- LEARN TOGETHER: Share what you are learning in God's word with them. Let them teach you a skill or sport!
- SERVE TOGETHER: Teach them the "basin and towel" concept and how to serve without seeking reward or praise.
- UNPLUG!: Turn off the TV, computer, video system, or cell phone. Live real, rather than virtual, lives!
- BE HONEST AND VULNERABLE: Admit you are not perfect. When necessary, ask for forgiveness.
Finally—NEVER EVER QUIT—cover your children in prayer daily. They are counting on us and so is God!
Editor's note: Major Dunigan will be a workshop presenter at the Family Enrichment Conference in Hershey, Pa.