Our children will often hear the phrase, “You can do anything you put your mind to.” The message from that is if you want something bad enough and work hard enough, anything is possible. The problem with that is that it is not always true since there are many variables that can cause desire and hard work to not bring “anything.”
We are told in Ephesians 2:10 that God created us in Jesus for good works. He then specifies that these works have already been prepared for us and we need to do them. It seems to indicate that God has specific plans that he wants each of us to follow in our lives, including our children. We also know from Scripture that God has given each of us gifts and passions.
The message given to our children can be that they can do anything IF it’s in God’s plans for their lives. That, I believe, would be a true statement. It means that parents spend time helping our children to discover their God-given gifts and passions and helping them see how they can use them for their future careers and service. It means having conversations about vocational ministry and finding ways to serve and share faith. It is talking constantly about being a light at home, school, and work. There must be intentional focus in the home on equipping them to discern God’s plan for their lives so they will look forward to that. All these conversations will give our children hope and anticipation for their futures because God is already there.
It’s too easy for our kids to grow up thinking their number one goal is to be happy in their life. A great question to ask is: What if our kids grew to be more holy than happy? Teaching our kids how to focus on holiness may or may not always bring happiness (as the world sees it), but it will bring joy in the Lord. It will bring fulfillment on a spiritual level that far outweighs any successes this world can offer.
Here are a few suggestions for what this focus might look like in our homes:
- Parents make a daily effort to share real-time activity of God around them.
- Pray daily, both privately and with your children, that God would show them what He has for their future.
- Observe the God-given gifts your children have and share that with them.
- Verbally give God credit for every blessing and acknowledge His comfort for every hurt.
- Ask age-appropriate questions to your children on how they are growing in God. The toddler, who’s early answer to “who loves you?” is “God does,” will have a good start to knowing God.
We all desire that our children want something in the future and work hard for it. However, let’s acknowledge that desire by helping them want only the future that God has created for them and spend endless hours in conversation and prayers to prepare them for it.