Ever since I was in fourth grade, I have had to wear either glasses or contact lenses for my severe case of near-sightedness. My husband and four out of our five chilren, on the other hand, are all far-sighted. Just as there are two camps of vision, there seems to be two similar camps in parenting. It is very importat in traning our children to have the right vision.
It is so easy at times to be the near sighted parent The type that looks at the urgency of the moment and keeps their vision focused on those things that are "near." Things like homework, extra-curricular activities, academic success, successful careers, etc. If you ask the majority of parents today, their goals for their children consist of getting good grades, not making too many mistakes when they are under our care and finding a successful and fulfilling career. Now, please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying any of these goals are wrong. But, what I am saying is they should not be the most important goals a parent, especially a Christian parent, should have for his/her children. A Christian parent needs to devlop a far-sighted focus.
What does God say is a sucess in life? The Bible says we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves.(Matthew 22:37-39) We need to start looking at the long range goal of parenting. If your son becomes a world famous neurosurgeon and yet does not follow this one commandment, the Bible calls him a failure. So why is there a tendency to focus so much on what this world calls success?
Far-sighted parenting changes everything. Instead of asking questions like this," How is this activity going to pad my child's portfolio for college?" We will begin to filter everything through the lense of eternity. Not what I want my child to be by the time he/she reaches college, but what I want my child to be far beyond that point. So, then we will be asking questions more along this line, "Does this activity bring my child closer to the goal of loving the Lord, or further away? Will the influences my child is around make them more or less godly? Will this activity prepare my daughter to be a godly wife and mother, or my son to be a godly leader/protector?" If not, it doesn't matter how many other children are doing it, or what your immediate family thinks about it, or how strangely people may look at you. We are supposed to be separate anyway...a called out people, set apart for the glory of God.
God says there are only two types of people, those who are for Him and those who are against Him. (Matthew 12:30) We get so indoctrinated in our culture sometimes that we don't realize there is nothing truly neutral in this life. The curriculum we choose, the activities we place our children in, the music we listen to, the movies we watch...they are either pleasing to God, or not. And when we have a far-sighted focus, then we begin to see life as God intended us to view it, through the lense of eternity.
So today, let us pray that God gives us a far-sighted vision for our children. One that looks at the far reaching consequences of behavior problems and important decisions. Because at the end of this life, the only thing that will bring peace and comfort to your children is knowing they are in a right relationship with the One who created them. And there is no amount of activities, academic successes, and successful careers that will ever be able to take the place of it. In the words penned by Stephen Olford's father to his son, "My son, this is the of utmost importance : Only one life 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last." God bless you my friends!