In the last post, I shared with you the sermon I gave this past Sunday for Mother’s day. It was a moving message, the first time that I felt emotional while giving one, because I thought about how much our mothers give and think they are giving their children, but also how they often think they are doing well and find that they missed what was truly important.
I have seen far to many families have their children grow up in church and in a Christian school only to find that later on in life the children decide that their parent’s faith will not be their own.
This is part of the reason that Doug Field’s post on Spiritual Maturity hit me so hard, and I read a part of it during the sermon:
I have three children, two of them teenagers, and I want them to be physically fit, adept in social settings, and achieve all they can academically and in other endeavors. But my greatest desire, my biggest prayer, is that they would be spiritually mature. In fact, I am willing to sacrifice their education, their chair in the orchestra, or time on the playing field for them to walk out of my home and into the world prepared to succeed as best as possible.
Some might retort, “My child needs to do well in school or athletics in order to get into a top college. That has to take priority.” Again, hear my heart: I agree that is a valuable priority, but even if your son or daughter gets a full scholarship, unless he or she has the skills and knowledge necessary to overcome peer and intellectual pressure, that scholarship may end up being withdrawn or traded for unhealthy lifestyle choices. I’m all for education, but not at the expense of my children’s mental, emotional, or spiritual health.
Still, I’m a parent who wrestles with priorities, and whether or not my children can skip church this week or next. But I recognize now, more than ever, that the sand in my “kids at home” hourglass is all too quickly running out. I feel the pressure to do everything perfectly so that my kids don’t end up as statistics, don’t get hurt by their choices, and don’t miss out on all God has for them. Of course, perfect parenting is foolish. It’s both a heavy burden and an impossible aspiration. So, I don’t strive for perfection, but the cry of my heart is that I make a right decision…today. And maybe another one tomorrow. How about a few next week?
Priorities must be established for our children, and academic, athletic, or artistic goals have value. But be aware that they will compete with spiritual goals. Recognize the challenge and prepare for a battle, one that seeks to claim the souls of our families.
How about you? What do your priorities in life teach your kids?