Parents, let me encourage you to…

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My hope in writing today’s post is to encourage you as a parent, or guardian to never lose sight of the awesome opportunity and responsibility you have to help your children.  What do I mean by that?
I totally get that life is busy and, at times stressful. Work can be very demanding.  Activities at church or in the community may seem never-ending. Cars breakdown and need to be fixed…. on and on it goes.
However, right under your nose, there is a child who needs your loving guidance. In all our busyness, are we even aware of their needs?  For some parents, there is a mindset of, “let them figure it out”,  but isn’t it a much wiser and loving thing to do to come along side your kids, in each phase of life and help them maximize their experiences?
So, for example:
* when your kids are pre-K, spend time with them (convey to them that they matter and that spending time with them is a joy), begin teaching them about right and wrong, about talking with God, of playing nice with their siblings and other children
*when your kids are in elementary school, spend time with them (convey to them that they matter and that spending time with them is a joy), continue teaching them about right and wrong, help them establish personal disciplines (like taking care of their possessions, brushing their teeth,  talking with God, reading the Bible,  respecting their siblings, other children, and adults, encourage them to try different activities (not only to enjoy them, but to learn how to get along with others, and develop new skills)
* when your kids are in junior high, spend time with them (convey to them that they matter and that spending time with them is a joy), encourage them to talk about what they are thinking about, because you know that  kids at this age can face many temptations and influences, walk through with them that people and families experience consequences for their actions, continue to encourage them to ask questions of others, encourage them to look for answers and to be resourceful, continue to encourage them to try new things and to consider that this is a big world
* when your kids are in high school, spend time with them (convey to them that they matter and that spending time with them is a joy), continue to seek  to dialogue with them asking them what’s on their minds and helping them work through progressions of cause and effect and long-term thinking, be an example for them in your patience with them as hormonal changes take place,  continue to encourage their learning and asking questions, continue to encourage their personal, spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible reading, church attendance, and ministry involvement, teach them about handling money wisely,
* when your kids are at college- keep in touch with them (though not too much), continue to ask them to think through consequences of their thinking, , lovingly encourage their continued disciplines in matters of faith, personal health, and handling their finances, wisely let them know that you have their back
*when your kids are in their 20’s out on their own–be there for them when they start experiencing “the real world” and they start facing “huge” bills,  encourage them to continue to think long-term and to not expect the to have the same standard of living they experienced when they were living at home, continue to encourage them to live life, to get involved in their communities, to pursue a faith of their own, and to be disciplined, and to make wise financial decisions, as they experience more of life, encourage them to be a learner
I’ll stop there because I think you get the point, though there are still more stages of life where not only will we go through, but God willing, our kids will as well.  As they do, we will then continue to have opportunities to come along side them.
*when your kids are married,
*when your kids have kids
*when you are retiring
*when you are nearing death
Mind you, I’m not talking about telling them what to do in each of these areas. What I’m talking about is helping where you can and when you can.  Some times, you will want to tell them what to expect. At other times, you will want to present options that they can expect.  At other times, you might want to ask them what they are thinking and offer questions back to them. At other times you might to just watch what they do and keep quiet, just lovingly observing.
I just believe it is most profitable for them and more enjoyable to “mentor” them through life instead of kicking them out of the nest and say, “survive”!
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