If I gave my kids the opportunity to make all their own decisions I can guarantee you it wouldn’t go well. I can just see it now: a hearty portion of ice cream and candy for all three meals, bedtimes would happen when they fall dead asleep in random places because of sheer exhaustion, and Taylor Swift would be playing on a constant loop on every speaker in our house (for the record I’m okay with this one).
In a world where it seems harder and harder to decipher what’s right, it’s so important to teach our kids how to make wise choices and stand up for what’s right. Here are a five thoughts that I am working through of ways to consider how we can model making wise choices to our kids.
1. Be known for what you're FOR more than what you're AGAINST.
Why is it human nature to focus so heavily on things we are against instead of things we are for? Are conversations with your kids more positive and life giving or more negative? One of the best ways to exemplify this idea of being known more for what we are FOR than what we are against is for us to model for our kids what it looks like to serve others. Bringing kids into the journey of loving and serving those around us isn't always easy and isn't always clean, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. This could be as simple as serving people in the neighbourhood.
2. Paint a picture with your life that your kids can emulate in their lives.
What I’ve realized more and more is that kids become their parents. Perhaps a little scary, but it makes sense right? Parents have the most significant influence in the formation of their own kids' lives. Whether you realize it or not, your kids are watching and will emulate the life you live. Join with me in asking yourself daily, am I painting a healthy picture of the life I want my kids to live today?
3. Model a soft heart.
It’s often easy to become riled up about things that are unjust and not right. We get our backs up and into a defensive posture. We think our anger is justified and okay, but if we are honest with ourselves it never accomplishes anything positive. But in contrast, we can teach our kids to feel empathy, sorrow, and even pain, instead of anger when things that are unjust around us. Our emotions are important and how we handle them will affect the lives of our kids in profound ways.
4. Let your kids behind the scenes.
Making life decisions in private teaches kids that they will have to do the same. Seeking the wisdom of others and letting kids in on the process teaches them they don’t have to do this alone. Having open conversations about what’s happening (at an age appropriate level) with the intent of helping them see the process and even how your wrestle with tough things can really shape how they wrestle in the future.
5. Teach your kids to root their decisions in Jesus. 1 Peter 2:21
"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps..." Constantly filtering your decisions through the lens of Jesus may feel somewhat exhausting at first, but the more you do so, the more natural it will become. This will become a gift to your family.
I know that one of the most important things every parent wants is for their kids to learn to make wise decisions. We have the ability to shape that. Let's not allow that amazing opportunity go to waste. Join me in an attempt to be intentional, be vulnerable, and be the example we are called to be.