I don’t know about you, but I know that I very quickly get bogged down in the details of daily life, the things that need to get done (insert snickering from my close peeps who know me well). Everyone’s list looks slightly different, but my list consists of :
getting ready (up at 5:15),
making breakfast (my girls love pancakes),
working (and all the things that entails),
doing homework (not mine, Ro’s),
reading with my kids,
talking about our day and processing big and little things (I am the mother of 2 girls who enjoy drama), tidying/cleaning/laundry,
getting ready for bed,
updating our prayer journal and praying,
reading our Bible together,
snuggling (my girls can’t "huggle" enough),
When I think of everything that needs to get done, I realize I don’t have a lot of time for what I would like
to see happen, and it drives home how intentional I want to be with every waking moment I have with my kids. That might mean we intentionally chill and watch a movie together one afternoon. It might also mean that we sit down and talk about an issue we want to process as a family (like where we want to serve together and why it’s important).
As I was reading through Andy Stanley’s book Visioneering, something hit me like a ton of bricks. I have pretty much ignored/downplayed my role as visioncaster in my kids’ lives. I know EVERY word I say to them stays with them to some degree (though I sometimes wonder about Vi). It is easy to forget the damage or great things our words can do with our kids, especially when we feel like we say so many words through the course of the day. The tricky thing is we never know which words are going to cut to their hearts and stay with them. If we could pick those words, we really wouldn’t have an issue. But we can’t pick them. And to a certain extent as a vulnerable child, they can’t pick them either.
Casting a vision for someone is a powerful thing. It can act as a point on the horizon that they aim for, that guides decisions about friends, schooling, life. It can help shape their character. It is often difficult for any of us to see our potential – we all need someone to encourage us in the way we could go, in the way God has made us to go. Our kids need to see what could be.
Now I’m not saying we should tell our kids that they are going to be a teacher, veterinarian, or pastor (though God might paint that picture for your child). What I’m saying is we can say, “God has something special for your life, and I can’t wait to find out what it is.” No one knows your child like you do. How has God made them? Empathetic? Compassionate? Full of energy? A great listener? Courageous? Come up with 3 character qualities you see in your kids. Let them know that God wants to use all these things. Our kids would love to hear these words of affirmation from us. And they will stick with them.
With my oldest daughter, Ro, I could say something like, “Ro, you are such a great listener and communicator. People love to talk with you! I can’t wait to see how God is going to use that gift in the various stages of your life.”
So spend some time talking with God about your child, and then capitalize on the opportunities you have (probably at bed time) to pray with your child, to build them up with your words, to let them know how God wants to use them. Because by doing so, you are showing them how God is using you.