Confidence and strength flood the hearts of the lovers of God who live in awe of Him, and their devotion provides their children with a place of shelter and security. (Proverbs 14:6)
Speaking of priorities…this proverb speaks volumes about a parent’s influence on a child’s spiritual and emotional development. I often think of the children in the churches I have served, and what a blessing it is to watch them grow up in the church. These kids have troubles, for certain, but they have a place to take their troubles, and that makes all the difference.
There was a time in our distant past when recreation departments and schools honored a family’s need for church. Dance, athletics, cheerleading, etc. never took place on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings. Society politely reserved these times for church participation. But no more.
I ran into a colleague from my former church last month. We had worked together on a Wednesday evening children’s program that brought hundreds of kids and their families to church every week. On our other campus, hundreds of Middle Schoolers attended their weekly youth group gathering. Both of those programs no longer meet on Wednesdays due to lack of weekday availability of families.
I heard a wonderful speaker at a conference who identified a parenting problem she called “the Monster of NOT ENOUGH”. She explained that this monster grows in the brains of expectant parents and continues to grow in size and importance as the child grows up. NOT ENOUGH whispers in a mother’s ear, convincing her that her attempts to raise and nurture her child are not enough. NOT ENOUGH speaks to a father every day, pushing him to push his kids into activities and programs that will supposedly help them deal with life issues. (“But it’s a team sport! They need to learn teamwork!”)
Unfortunately, over-scheduling our children into multiple activities and sports ends up being NOT ENOUGH to foster their spiritual walk of discipleship.
I once knew a family who was active in their faith and loyal to their church. The raised two little boys and brought them to Sunday School, children’s ministry events, and worship every week. But at some point, they decided this was not enough, so they began to sign the boys up for every possible soccer team available. It started with a seasonal soccer program that expanded to soccer camps, away soccer teams, lightening soccer, year round elite soccer….it was a soccerpalooza. We began to see less and less of this family in church.
I asked the mom where they had been one rare Sunday when I saw her in church, and she recounted tournaments and games that required weekend travel. She felt a little defensive, and explained that the boys were so gifted in soccer, they were sure to get college scholarships, and maybe even go Pro someday!
Guess what? They didn’t get scholarships, and they no longer play soccer. And as young adults on their own now, they no longer go to church, either. Their parents taught them that church wasn’t important, so why go?
Shelter and security come from a parent’s devotion to God . Teaching our kids to love Jesus, to go to Jesus when we are troubled, to pray daily, and to turn to scripture for answers are life-long lessons that will stay with them years after the last soccer practice is over. As parents, we will always struggle with feeling that we are not enough for our kids. That is Satan’s lie in our ears. So whenever you hear the Monster of Not Enough, stick your fingers in your ears and loudly sing LALALALALALA.
And remember, Jesus IS ENOUGH. This parenting thing is a team sport! Churches have all kinds of teammates who are ready to help you. With God’s help, we can do this together. And it will be enough.
Of course your monster drinks coffee! But the brand you buy is not enough!