“If your friend told you to jump off the bridge, would you do it?”
I am going to make a bold guess and claim that almost every one of you reading this right now has heard this line or one similar to it at one point in your life. By a parent, a teacher, or some other care giver of some sort. Am I right?
Now I am going to take it one step further … How many of you have found yourself saying that same line to your own children at some point? I am guessing that number is pretty high, as well!
But it confuses me because if we are a society that has been taught to not follow every “brilliant” idea that comes along, how did we end up a society of Bandwagon Followers?
It seems that whatever becomes the latest and greatest or most popular, we latch on and run with it! Don’t get me wrong. I love that the latest and greatest have brought back retro style home decor. And friends, I really love leggings, loose over-sized shirts, curly hair, and joggers (aka sweatpants).
However, that doesn’t mean they are all the best ideas for each of us.
Let me go a little deeper with this. Into parenting. The single most important responsibility of our lifetime.
Breastfeeding, Formula, Ferber Method, Dr. Sears, No-Tears, Co-sleeping, Crib sleeping, disposable diapers, cloth diapers, pre-school, home school, public school, private school, sports, no sports, family dinner, spanking, no spanking …
Before our children utter their first cry, we have been offered endless theories which at one time or another have been the latest and greatest bandwagon in parenting.
It’s overwhelming. As parents, we begin to feel the weight of the world on our shoulders. Even when we make a decision, we let thoughts of it being the wrong decision run rampant in our minds.
I’m right there with you, sweet mama friends! I’ve run this hamster wheel round and round.
However, I am also convicted God did not design parenthood to be this way.
I believe He designed each of us as uniquely wonderful. And likewise gave us each specific children that are equally as uniquely wonderful! It was no mistake or random placement. We were each designed for the specific child He gave us to parent while here on Earth. (I wrote more about this here)
My friend, Aimee Imbeau who blogs over at A Work of Grace, recently wrote a book titled Raising Godly Children. Her book is filled with great strategies and resources to help you raise up your child to love and follow God.
Aimee is a homeschooling Mom. I am not. I have an Education Degree and have taught all ages – from Elementary through College. But I have not formally educated my children at home. And in all likelihood, will not.
One would think, because Aimee’s book is written from the perspective of a Homeschooling Mom with tips targeted toward the Homeschooling Mom, I would not have much to appreciate or glean from her advice.
But here is why that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Aimee’s heart is to follow hard after Jesus and to raise children who follow just as hard after Him. And when we follow hard after Jesus, we don’t follow bandwagons, we follow Him. We listen for Him. We seek out His guidance. And we parent specifically to the children with whom He so lovingly blessed us.
In her book, Aimee urges us to listen for His call because any methodology could become our idol if we aren’t careful.
She says, “When we commit to riding one of those wagons (or multiple wagons), we end up following these man-made ordinances for our lives (and perhaps shun those who disagree and don’t follow along) and we aren’t able to hear the voice of God and understand HIS will for our lives. We are so consumed by these philosophies that they become idols and they distract us from what God wants for us.”
As Christians, I think we need to be very careful in discerning the differences between man-made ordinances and God-made ordinances.
In order to do this we must follow hard after Jesus, know His Word, and communicate through prayer with an unceasing tenacity.
I want to leave you with a list of 7 Suggestions for Raising Your Children God’s Way. These are not dependent upon which theory or bandwagon is popular right now. They are dependent upon God’s Word. And God’s Word is a lifetime wagon on which Aimee and I both joyfully jump!
- Build your faith into everyday moments. Take advantage of life and make them teachable moments that point to the power of Jesus. Use the time for open conversation.
2. Bring every matter back to the condition of your child’s heart. Disobedience? Unkind words? Poor choices? They are all matters of the heart. It’s not simply about consequences. Get to the matter of the heart.
3. Model a life of relationship with Christ. You cannot teach what you yourself do not model. Your life must be a living testimony.
4. Pray with your children.
5. Study His Word with your children.
6. Worship Him with all your heart. Give your children the opportunity to witness and participate in this.
7. Listen to Him. When you study. When you pray. When you worship. In this way your child will learn to hear Him as well. Together you will stay off the man-made bandwagons and stay on the God-made one.
Dear Father, Parenting is tough. So tough. But Lord, You alone have created us each in minute detail. You alone know our individual burdens and needs. And You alone have given us what we need to parent each of our children. Thank You for giving us tools to ease the burden of doubt, insecurity, overwhelm, and worry. Thank You for blessing us with these precious lives. Lord, I ask You to fill each of us with Your strength, wisdom, compassion, and love. Let us see our children through Your eyes and let us recognize man-made ordinances that may not be the correct ones for our children. Our children are beautiful creations and You know how desperately we desire to be the parent You ask us to be. Thank You for filling our gaps when we falter and lighting the path to raising our children. In Your precious and holy Name, we pray. Amen.
Friends, if you are a new or experienced parent, or just an overwhelmed one, I recommend Raising Godly Children! It can be purchased on Amazon here. Below is a book trailer that will give you an even better look at Aimee’s work!
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