Right now I’m taking a class on theories of Christian Nurture, which essentially examines how people are led into Christian discipleship. We started by taking a look at how Christian parents raise their kids, and I’ve learned a LOT in the process. As someone who one day hopes to have kids, I feel like I’m taking a crash-course in parenting!
In particular, I read something in Horace Bushnell’s Christian Nurture that I just had to share with you. Even if kids are nowhere near your radar screen, this is good stuff. It’s important to remember that the kind of person you are now is the kind of person you’ll probably be as a parent. You can’t suddenly switch to being a thoughtful, intentional parent over night, so be thinking now about what kind of parent you want to be and whether you’re on the path to getting there.
What follows is a helpful goal:
“Your character is a stream, a river, flowing down upon your children, hour by hour. What you do here and there to carry an opposing influence is, at best, only a ripple that you make on the surface of the stream. It reveals the sweep of the current; nothing more. If you expect your children to go with the ripple, instead of the stream, you will be disappointed.”
You may know all the stories in the Bible and you may have read all the books on parenting, but what you teach your kids will only be a ripple in the stream of your character. It is who you are, not what you say, that will have the most influence–a great truth outside the home as well!
So no matter where you are right now in life, remember that it’s your character that counts. It reveals your true allegiances and can either strengthen or undermine your words. When you think about your future, are you becoming the kind of parent (or spouse, friend, neighbor or co-worker) you want to be?
I agree so whole heartedly that we fail to realize that our children absorb so much of what we do, but can only learn so much without us modeling it for them. As a school counselor we see so much of the generational curses passed down through to our kids – domestic violence is the most obvious example, but everyday children learn to hold onto their worries rather than releasing them to the Lord, to quit when things are tough, the list goes on and on….
One thing we can really do to help our children develop a Christ-centered heart is to teach them to accept boundaries and discipline for their intended purposes. Growing Kids God’s Way is an amazing program that helps teach kids these incredibly important principles. It’s essentially Christian parenting education; for anyone interested, there’s more information here: http://www.growingkids.org/gfi-core-curriculum/growing-kids-gods-way/
Ashley, just a note that while most people I’ve read recognize some good things in GKGW, it does have its detractors who have some interesting concerns about it.
Tenth Presbyterian, Philly: http://www.tenth.org/wowdir/wow1998-04-05.htm
Grace Community Church (former church home): http://www.ezzo.info/GCC/macarthur.htm
A couple who were GFI co-founders: http://web.archive.org/web/20040207163332/abelhome.com/GFI.htm
I don’t post these links to be completely negative, but simply to share some information which I have discovered and found extremely helpful.