We had a long 22 hour trip home to Okinawa yesterday, giving me plenty of time to think about spiritual goals and what I’ll be trying to accomplish in the next six months. (We’re PCSing in July, making a natural break in our year.) Thought occurred to me that my children will be far more motivated if they are the one making their own goals. I’d rather them see me as the one who helps them reach their goals than the one pushing them to do stuff.
This morning at breakfast, I asked the kids if they had any Bible goals for the year.
- David wants to listen to Proverbs each month for awhile. I asked if he’d be willing to write out his favorite verse from each chapter. He dislikes writing and reading, and I’m reluctant to turn every spiritual activity into a school-like project. I wrestle with asking him to write out what he’s learning, but I’m discovering I need to push a little so that he can see for himself the value of keeping a record of what God is teaching him.
- Bethel wants to read through the Bible, but she mentioned that she got discouraged when she missed a few days on vacation. Told her I’ve had that problem, too, which is why I found chapter checklists helpful.
- Laurel wants to listen to the history books of the Old Testament. She liked the chronological approach, but decided against it when I told her I didn’t have a chronological audio version of the Bible. 🙂 Later in the morning, she sat beside me and read Joshua 1. When she finished, she laughed and read the last two verses. “This is ironic,” she said. “The children of Israel said that they always obeyed, but they didn’t.” I asked her how she could turn that thought into a prayer, and she said “I could pray that God would help me not to be deceived.”
- Laurel’s response to her reading was encouraging to me. I looked down at the verses I was copying while she was reading. This morning I wanted to pray specifically for my children these verses in Ephesians.
Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding[c] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. Ephesians 1:15-21
Of course, it’s not my job to make them have an independent walk with God. I have the responsibility to teach them how to do it, and pray for them. I can require some actions, but God gives the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God. Whew! That’s a load off my back! I wonder how much of the next ten years of parenting I’m going to have to remind myself to stay in my lane.