Four Road Blocks to Consistently Training My Children
by Kristina Matz
I was recently praying about my consistency in training my children in Biblical wisdom. During that prayer time, I suddenly thought, “In the moments and days when I don’t train them… why don’t I?” That prayer turned into a time of confession, pleading with the Lord to give me the strength to overcome these road blocks. And while there are many barriers to putting in the all-important Bible training time with my children every day, below are the four top road blocks that came to my mind the other day. When we can identify the barriers to our intended goal, only then can we pray through them and “cut them off at the pass” before they take us out.
I Can Be Lazy
Sometimes I compartmentalize my home life and my business life. At my business, I’m rarely lazy. Why then, do I find myself acting like a lazy teenager when it comes to putting in the work at home? Simple. Because I can fail to view what I’m doing at home as a job. A friend told me the other day, “I stop before arriving home each night and pray for God to give me the strength to perform my duties. Lord, help me to remember that, while I might be finishing my responsibilities at work for the day, my other, more important responsibilities start when I walk through this door.” What a brilliant reminder for many reasons. One is that our kids don’t often see us work hard at our job. They might see the fruit of it, but they don’t see us actually being diligent. But they will see us in our home. What will my personal brand be at home? One of a hard work ethic, pouring myself out for my family? Or will it be one of “relaxation” and “me time”. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time to relax and recharge, but if I view my home as a sanctuary for my own personal leisure then I’ve forgotten the great responsibility that was placed on me the second I got married and had children.
I Can Be Selfish
So what about those times when I am fully aware of what I should do, but I just choose to do what I want to do instead. That’s called being selfish. If I really want to have children who are raised up into responsible adults who know, love, and obey their Lord, it’s going to be preceded by a long road of selfless choices and sacrifices. Period. So I need to pray about my selfish desires in order to detect them when they flare up and keep my eye on the prize. Let me get real for a second. I’ve heard so many parents who are in their 50’s say, “I just did the best I could”, when talking about their failed parenting attempts. If you dig a little deeper, however, you’ll realize that they actually didn’t most of the time. Many times saying, “I did the best I could”, is an easy way to sweep selfishness under the rug. It’s the same reason that most Americans believe that they are going to heaven, because the alternative has dire consequences. If you do not have a plan, then you will fail as a parent because our default “mode” is selfishness. We don’t naturally want to do this part of life well. We need a plan and then we have to fight like crazy to put everyone else in our family ahead of our ourselves. Bottom line is that I don’t want to say, “I did the best that I could”, as some kind of platitude, but instead I want to say that, "I battled, fought, and scraped my way to having responsible adults who know, love, and obey the Lord”, Lord willing.
I Think I Have More Time Than I Really Do
Every parent in the history of the planet has heard the same thing… (In my best white-sneaker-wearing dad voice) “Man, they grow up quick. Next thing you know they’ll be going off to college. Enjoy it while you can.” I would simply replace the statement, “Enjoy it while you can,” with, “Invest while you can.” It’s true that they grow up quick. But the window may be smaller than we all think. It’s been said that ages 0-9 are the “correction” stage and ages 10-18 are the “direction” stage. Of course, you correct and direct through both stages, but in each stage one concept is definitely more weighted. If you don’t correct well through age nine, it’s harder to “course correct” during ages 10-18. The result is massive teenager disobedience because they haven’t learned how to respect rules and authority. And if you don’t direct through age 18, you have lost your greatest opportunity to effect change in the life of your child. It’s convicting to think that I can never get that back. My oldest child, David, is now nine years old. I probably have about six more solid years to direct him if I’m honest. For me, that’s encouraging, convicting, and motivating all at the same time. I need to spend serious time being proactive in David’s life. Because either way, his life will bear fruit, but the quality of that fruit depends on how I “till the ground" now. The clock is ticking.
I Don’t Really Understand the Weight of Not Doing It
The older I get, and the older my children get, the more I do understand the weight of not training them biblically. However, there are still those days and moments when I lose sight of it. I momentarily forget that they are souls, that they have an eternity waiting for them no matter what. They will spend forever somewhere and I’ll be partly responsible for that destination. That’s heavy. So how can I live with this reality everyday? I can memorize scripture like Proverbs 22:6... "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." And I can pray for my children consistently. I have been doing this very consistently lately and it’s definitely helping to feel this weight regularly. (I recommend the PrayerMate App to assist you). My children are on loan from the Lord. He is expecting me to take care of them for him. Children are not for my entertainment (as fun as they can be) and they were not created to be my buddies (as good of a companion as they can be), but rather they were created, like you and me, to glorify the Lord. I need to always remember that it’s my job to help them to that end. That’s heavy and it should be! Don’t downplay the weight of this responsibility just because the culture says to loosen up and let them “free range” their way through life. That doesn’t work.
If what I’m saying is true, then it means I need to take an already busy life and make it busier. Maybe. But perhaps my life (our lives) are filled with far too many distractions as it is. If my mindset is to wake up everyday and pour myself out for the Lord and those around me, I’m guessing I won’t feel as rushed. I might be more tired, but perhaps not more rushed. When we audit our lives to detect all that is spent on meaningless pursuits, the numbers are many times daunting. It’s a huge encouragement to remember these words in Matthew 6:19-21... “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Investing in our Children’s eternity is nothing short of a Kingdom investment, and you can take that to the bank.
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