Kids desperately want parents who show them Jesus. If I could say one thing to parents about what bothers their kids and what turns so many of them from church and from God I would tell them this. Kids know when you don't show them the character of God and in time they will reject God because of it. Now I know it is not that simple, that kids make their own choices and at some point need to take responsibility for their own choices but we don't need to make it harder for them.
Kids want parents who love each other. They want to see their daddy love their mom, even when she is difficult, even when she is less than lovable. You chose her, you chose God, obey Him. Love your wife. They want to see their mom respect dad. Even when dad is making bad decisions, even when it seems he is just another kids to clean up after. Respect him and love him.
Mom's, I believe that Proverbs says that the "law of kindness" is always on your tongue. Are you kind, in your discipline, in your treatment of your husband, in how you talk about others? Your kids desperately want kindness, a soft spot to land in a hard world. Dad's, are you exasperating your kids, are you consistent in your expectations? Do you enjoy them? Do you spend time with them and lead them? Your kids need to see you as a man of God. Are you obviously a man of God or would you have to try and dig up evidence to convict you of your relationship with Jesus? How about you mom? Is your life about Christ or something else?
As parents and as families are you serving God or living your life? Many times I hear the kids on Wednesday night verbalize how they do not want their lives to be ordinary. How they want to make a difference and feel a sense of purpose. How about you? Have you lost that sense of wanting more and don't quite know how to get it back again? Say yes to God this year. As He brings opportunities your way, purpose to say yes. Give up a few of life's distractions and make time for ministry. Your kids are learning how life is to be lived from you.
Life is hard and God is going to allow us to go through difficulties. These are our opportunities to show our faith in God and grow in it. During your hard times are you as parents trusting in God or giving in to worry and despair? Your kids are watching.
None of us are perfect. Speaking of those imperfections, our kids can handle our imperfections if they see us confess our sins, admit them, say we're sorry, and repent and live differently. They will forgive us over and over if that is true about us. Funny how that is what God expects too. You see, all our kids really want is to see their parents follow what God says and put Him first. They may not verbalize that. They want to live in a house where they can experience the love of God. If we give them that I think many more of them will follow in His direction.
As I write this I am full of regrets. I certainly did not do all of this right and I am so thankful that God is merciful. None of us will get it all right but we can all aim for the mark. Even though my children are grown I am still aiming for that mark because my life is His and I so want to be found perfect and complete at the end of my journey. I am grateful for each new day that I can press forward and do better. I am praying for us all.