Raising Positive kids In a Negative W orld .
Raising children is a tough challenge in today’s world. Peers and pop culture exert a never-ending pressure on kids. Parents often feel helpless, as every godly principle they teach their children seems to be contradicted the corrupt principles of this defective world. But the good news is, God has a plan for effectively raising your children and you can learn from it.
Well, without a doubt, these are very, very difficult days to raise kids.
There’s a world that makes it very, very difficult to be an effective parent in a very defective world.
Psalm 127 says, “Children are a gift from the Lord,” and then it goes on to say that they are your great reward. My experience is: the stewardship that you have of raising a child is the most sacred, important stewardship of your life. Your children will be your greatest challenge, they will be your greatest joy, they will be your greatest pain, and then through all the process, God’s desire is they are your great reward.
I think one of the things I hear from parents, especially when things get a bit hard is, “Well, you know, we had these issues when I was a kid,” and we unconsciously think that the world that your kid is growing up in is a lot like your world. And let me tell you, it’s completely different.
The shift of morality in the last ten years alone, the shift of disintegration in the family, the culture, the educational system, the world that they live in, the landscape underneath your kids is moving so rapidly, you really need to be on your A game and really understand God’s plan and how to cooperate with it, because your kids are living in a world that moves fast, is bombarding them, and is more evil than in the past.
And so a parent’s challenge is not to protect your kid and create some bubble that they can never get hurt. But your challenge is to discover how to help your child navigate through this world, deeply anchored in God’s love, understanding his or her purpose, and becoming a change agent in the world and discovering that God really wants to use them to change the world, not necessarily be protected from it.
David, as a teenage boy, when all was going against Israel, tackled a giant. And I could go on and on and on.
We have great hope, we have a great God, He is the greatest, He is the strongest, He is powerful. But you and I have a job, as a parent, to equip our kids to be those kind of kids.
And so the big question I think parents are asking: How do you raise positive kids in the negative world?
See, parenting begins with having a crystal-clear target.
Ephesians 6:4 gives us the answer, and I love it in the Phillips translation. Notice it says, “Fathers,” negative command, “don’t overcorrect your children or make it difficult for them to obey the commandment.” Positive command, “Bring them up with Christian teaching and Christian discipline.”
Effective parenting begins with a crystal-clear target. Your job as a parent, more than their success, more than their happiness, is to help them be holy. And that requires a lot of courage, it requires intentionality, it requires a plan. And, the way, it’s not easy.
What can you do to safeguard your children in a world whose priorities are way out of line with God’s Word? How can you protect them from the enemy who wants to use this world’s system to steal, kill and destroy their future? How do you teach them to choose God’s way and not the way of the world?
- Safeguard their minds
We live in a media-centric society, and there’s virtually no way around that. So what can we do to protect immature minds from being inundated messages that might stunt their spiritual development?
Monitor Social Media
Social media sites don’t necessarily need to be blocked. However, it’s important that we be aware of the increasingly violent and vulgar things children are exposed to on social media. To help, look to see if sites have parental controls to prevent exposing children to unsuitable topics and images. At the very least, we must monitor who our children are interacting with online and what they are viewing reviewing their account history.
Monitor Movies and Video Games
The Bible is very clear about filling our minds with good things. Philippians 4:8 tells us, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
- Protect their spirits
Protecting your child’s spirit starts in the home. The stronger your children’s home base is, the easier it is for them to feel confident in their own values and beliefs. You’re probably familiar with Proverbs 22:6. This scripture is a basic principle of child development that can be every parent’s best resource. “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”
Start your day with God’s Word. Find a devotional that is age-appropriate for your child, and read it together at breakfast. Speak positive words over the day and determine to approach every situation in faith.
Most of us have a ritual of nightly prayers with our children, to thank God for the day and to have a restful night. But consider making this a reflection of the morning’s devotion as well. Review your child’s day with them. Ask them if they encountered any negative situations with friends or teachers, and how they handled them. If they feel it didn’t go well, discuss together a better way to handle those situations in the future.
- Keep them busy
Sometimes the best way to limit the influences of a world system that permeates everything our children see and hear is to simply keep them busy. This doesn’t mean overscheduling them and shuttling them from one lesson or activity to another, but it does mean making sure they have more to occupy their time than just media and texting.
Physical activity is great for your child’s health and a natural antidepressant. There are usually a large number of city-sponsored sports organizations. You may even want to check in your city to see if there are any Christian-based sports leagues like Upward.
When you’re all at home, are you each in a separate room, doing your own thing? Consider scheduling a regular family game night. When you’re all playing a game together, it’s a good time to talk casually about subjects that might seem too intimidating for direct, face-to-face conversation.
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