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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Training Children in Godliness ~ A Far-Sighted Focus

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!

13 comments:

Mrs. Trixi said...

Such a good post. We have been telling our kids for years that we don't look at success as the World looks at success. I am really having to live what I have preached for years, as my oldest is now graduated from our homeschool. We have many people ask, Is she not going to college. It's a personal choice of hers. She sees no profit in going to college, when she knows she desires to be a wife and mother. She would rather spend these next years in missions and seeking doing things for the Kingdom. It can be tough when the World measures our homeschooling ability by what our children do next. However, I have a Higher Authority to answer to.

Trisha said...

Amen, my sister and friend! And you know what, Jackie? I'm learning that this is something I constantly have to remind myself of, especially as I watch those around me who used to be a voice of encouragement to me shift their own priorities.

His bondservant said...

Trixi,
I know exactly what you mean. Our daughter is not planning on the college route either, or if she is, she is planning to go with College Plus which is Christian based and all completed at home.

Trisha,
Sometimes it is very hard to seem like the lone fish swimming upstream. That is one reason blogging has been such a special experience. I am able to connect with like minded people like you! God bless you!

Robin said...

Thank you so much for this. Would it be okay for me to put a link for this on my blog? I think people need to hear it!

His bondservant said...

Robin,
Thank you for your kind words. I would be honored for you to link this. God bless you!

Robin said...

Okay, I linked you! Here is the post on my blog. http://musicoftheheart-robin.blogspot.com/2011/03/are-we-in-end-times.html Blessings! - Robin

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

This was good. I hope that my vision is far-sighted. I think that is why I discipline so much. I am thinking of the future. They need to be disciplined children to be able to cope having a job or even if they choose to homeschool their own children.

Thank you for your prayers. I am doing better.

The Adventures of a Simple Life said...

Jackie,
Great post full of wisdom. I have been considered to legalistic, extreme, to religious, by others for these exact things.

But I keep my eyes on Christ. They do not have to answer to God for raising my children, I do.

And I shall continue. For HIS glory. NOT mans. My desire is to be a God pleaser, not man pleaser.

Again, this is a great post!
To God be the glory!!!
Christine

His bondservant said...

Stacie,
You are right. Children must first learn to obey their parents before they learn to obey the voice of God. So glad you are feeling better. I have prayed for you my friend.

Christine,
Thank you for your kind words. I know what you mean, I too have had family and friends criticize my way of parenting...but it is God I will ultimately have to answer to. God bless you!

Cassidy said...

I pray that I may be far-sighted in my focus with my children always. I know I am now and have been for as long as I can think of but I pray that I never lose sight of it.

This was a great post and I enjoyed reading it and how you related it.

Your little girl is a beauty!
Smiles, Cass

His bondservant said...

Cass,
I pray we both will be faithful to run the race for God's glory. Thank you for your sweet words.

Camille said...

Wonderful post Jackie! I agree...no matter what our children *become*, our first goal should be godliness and love for our precious Saviour!

Have a wonderful weekend!
In His Love,
Camille

Yuri Richardson said...

Shalom,

I've not read this post; but being part of a homeschooling family (Dad) the title is definitely something I totally agree with and find so accurate!

Shalom In Yahshua Messiah