If you’re not in a bunker, you’re aware that there’s some crazy stuff going on. Parents who have open eyes are concerned about how to be sure their kids are prepared for life in this hectic world.
One of my favorite memories backpacking with my buddies happened in 2010 in the Smokey Mountain National Park. We had expected fare weather for the most part, so imagine our surprise when we found ourselves plodding through 8 inches of snow. That night it was so cold that our hydration bladders froze, and any clothes that had residual moisture from the hike froze solid where they hung.
And yet, this is one of my favorite memories! Why, you ask? Ah–indeed. Why? It could be because I’m the ultimate adventure man, always eager for a challenge and thirsty for pain. OR–it could be because I alone had a zero degree sleeping bag that kept me warm and toasty all night long. I’ll leave that choice to your imagination.
Here’s the deal–in the Smokey MOuntains of life, the snow is coming. I don’t know about you, but I want my kids to be prepared. I want them to grow up courageous, wise, and joyful. I want them to be able to navigate all of life with confidence, and most of all, I want them to remain in the faith throughout their lifetime.
How do we do that in a rapidly changing world? How do we brace our kids against life’s inevitable winds? The answer is Gospel Readiness.
I think this is what Paul has in mind in Ephesians 6. The armor of God is not a cutesie, sentimental picture of how God protects us. Rather, it’s encouragement to be prepared for battle. And this battle is not one where we fight against others. Instead, we fight for them, and for our own souls.
So how do we raise kids who are equipped with Gospel Readiness?
1. They must have a biblical world-and-life view.
They need Gospel lenses. In order to provide this, you need them to inhabit the story of God in a real and life-giving way. We moved a year ago and my 4 year old still talks about our last home, his “brown house.” It is real to him. We want our kids to know Scripture like he knows his “brown house.”
2. You must be their primary disciple-maker.
That way they can see that the Gospel is real, and they can have constant access to the person teaching them the faith. If you leave this to your church (and yes, church is crucial, too) their disciple-maker will see them for 1-2 hours per week, and your child’s faith will be a compartment in their lives that they, too, visit once a week. If you want it to be real for them, teach them at home. If you don’t become their primary disciple-maker, the world is more than happy to take that task off your hands. We don’t want that to happen.
3. They must be free to make mistakes.
You need to give your kids opportunities to do things that are beyond their ability and that fire their imaginations. We harvested radishes together yesterday. I told the kids to break off the leaves as they pick the radishes so that when we clean them, we don’t have to pick through the leaves. Of course, they didn’t pull this off perfectly. Nonetheless, I had an opportunity to show them how to do it, they had an opportunity to practice, and they got to learn that there is a beautiful way to do things, even everyday things. This is what I mean by giving them freedom to make mistakes. If your kids are challenged to obey Scripture, they’re going to want to do things that you don’t think they’re ready for. If it’s not horribly dangerous, let them give it a shot. You might both learn something, especially if they make a mistake.
For the Comments: What would you add? How do you think you need to prepare kids for life in the world?