Turning over the keys to your children
February 17, 2004
Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-part series of columns entitled, “Supporting the purpose of your child’s life.
My daughter is going places — well, I mean, she’s now driving. She’s sixteen, has her driver’s license, and all of a sudden, I’m not in control anymore.
When she was three and didn’t want to wear a dress, I could stuff her in it. It was easy, arms go here, legs go here, head goes here and zip, it’s over. But now, when the tail lights leave the driveway, I’m out of control.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we practiced. We started in the driveway when she was 14, backing up, checking mirrors, getting a feel for the brakes and accelerator. She took driver’s education classes, passed her learner’s permit and practiced with me for more than a year. But now she’s ready for the solo journey. I can’t tell you how nervous I am. I’ve spoken to thousands of people and never have I been this nervous.
As the keys pass from my hands to hers, I ask myself: “Have I prepared her for the Wal-Mart parking lot, tricky left hand turns and the busiest intersections in town?” I know I’ve protected her all these years, but the question comes to my mind, now that she’s out going places, have I prepared her?
I think all parents need to ask themselves that question. Have I prepared my child? Have I prepared them for the world’s system? The constant challenge that many parents face today is the temptation to protect their children from all the world’s influences and at the same time prepare them to make an impact on the culture by living out principles that are counter-cultural. The secret to discovering this balance of preparing and protecting our children is to find environments where they can live out their faith in a positive way. Our children have a platform, a role, a sphere of influence, a setting designed for them to live out their purpose.
For example, let’s say your daughter is interested in cheerleading. You as a parent want to encourage that activity in her life. You become the president of her fan club. You spend time encouraging her to practice and before she tries out, you pray with her something like this:
“Lord, we want what You want in regard to (your child’s name) becoming a cheerleader. And Lord if You would be so gracious to allow her this opportunity, we trust the reason You would do this is so (your child’s name) would be able to use the platform as a cheerleader to make You look good to others. So we pray that You would grant our request. If You don’t want that Lord, we don’t want it either, because we want what You want. We trust You to lead us in the direction You want us to go with (your child’s name) involvements, and if You don’t want her to have it, we thank You in advance for protecting her and we humbly ask that You would please show us what You would have her do instead. We trust You and will always love You. Amen.”
When we pray with our children in this way, it reminds them that God is the One in control of life and the platforms He gives are not for us, but for Him. It will remind them that His purpose for their life is much greater than just being a cheerleader. Your child becomes God’s secret agent to their part of the world with the assignment of making Jesus look good on a cheerleading squad. This concept is totally opposite from the world’s mindset, and unfortunately the mindset of many Christian parents. But for parents to prepare their children to make an impact on the culture, continually supporting them to live out that purpose must be intentional.
I believe parents are the most powerful people in the world, but tragically they don’t realize it. If we would pour our lives into our children, teaching them to love the Lord and obey Him, the next generation would experience a changed culture. That was God’s plan, it is called generational faith, where one generation motivates and mentors the next generation to love the Lord. As you protect your children today, look for opportunities to prepare them to live out their purpose. Then you can pass over the keys with confidence.