I was reflecting recently on the kind of man I want my boys to become. The question for me as a mother then became, “How can I help them become that kind of man?” It boiled down to two passages in Scripture.
This is the kind of man I want my sons to become:
I want to do what pleases you, my God. Your law dominates my thoughts. Psalm 40:8
When my sons are on the playground, in the classroom, at a birthday party, doing their homework, hanging out with their siblings…..
And when in time...
They own their own car, become independent, choose high school friends, follow a career path, and choose their spouse, if their desire is to do what pleases God and His Word dominates their thoughts, then I will know that my job as a missionary mom has been fulfilled.
I won’t be hopeless when they fail, or when they make sinful choices. We all do that! I won’t hold them to a standard I can’t hold for myself. I’m not interested in mere sacrifice or good behavior. I want to know and see that their heart’s desire is for God and His Word. That’s enough for God, and it will be enough for me.
How I can help them become that kind of man:
You must love the Lord your God with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength. These words I am commanding you today must be kept in mind, and you must teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up. You should tie them as a reminder on your forearm and fasten them as symbols on your forehead. Inscribe them on the doorframes of your houses and gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9
My own relationship with the Lord needs to be radical. I must have a deep relationship with Him first, and love Him with my mind and with my whole being.And I must teach my sons about the Lord and the things of God all throughout my day.
I don’t believe in formulas. For me, it’s about listening to the Holy Spirit’s leading and continually asking Him for wisdom and insight and strength in my parenting. But these are a few ideas that I use to point my kids to Jesus on a regular basis from morning to night.
Pointing My Kids To Jesus:
1. When they wake up, I start their day off with an overdose of loving kindness, modeling for them how much Christ loves them. I smile so big my face could break, fling out my arms and with great enthusiasm, say their names and tell them how glad I am to see them and how much I missed them while they were asleep. They beam. They know they have a happy Mommy who loves them. Repeat after naps.
2. Every time we get settled in the car, we stop and thank God for the new day, for His provision of our wonderful reliable car, and ask Him for His help and protection as we drive. I say a quick prayer for each of the boys that they will show others kindness and use their hands for good. It’s a different prayer each time depending on where we are going. We also flood our car and home with worship and praise music. I love the Seeds Family Worship collections of songs which are Bible verses set to music that we all can sing along too!
3. When we do daily chores together, I try to always be upbeat about the “tedious” work we have to do. If the day involves laundry, I enlist their help and affirm what a good job they are doing by pointing out how pleased God is when we do our work for Him. I take the time to build them up and tell them how God has given them talents and abilities to do the good work they are doing, expressing how wonderful the Lord is to enable us to take care of the good things He has given to us. It’s all about pointing them to Jesus.
4. When they, or I, sin, we take the time to apply Restorative Discipline. We separate from the other family members, talk about what was wrong, what should have been done instead, spend time praying with them sitting on our laps and in our arms, and asking God for forgiveness and then telling our sons we love them when they do the right thing, and we love them even when they do the wrong thing. We remind them that God’s love for us is unconditional, all the time, no matter what. And then we don’t bring up that offense ever again.
5. We spend as much time outdoors as possible or reading books about God’s creation. It’s important to me that they see the miracle of life and God’s handiwork all around us. My sons are most likely going to be in public schools, and we often talk about how some people don’t believe in God or that He made the whole Earth and everything in it. We start now preparing them to face challenges to their faith, to look upon others’ beliefs with compassion and understanding, and yet to be firm in what they believe. We notice the magnificent colors of the butterfly, the enormous peaks of the mountains, and even our miraculous belly buttons where God made us to receive nourishment in mommy’s tummy. It comes naturally to them and most of the time they are pointing these things out to me instead of the other way around!
Training my sons in the way they should go is not about a rote formula, or an empty litany of dialogue. It’s about being in tune to the work of God all around us, His love and goodness, and taking every opportunity to notice that this life is not about ourselves.The beauty is that I don’t have to wait until they are men to know if they are going to desire God and allow Him to dominate their thoughts. As preschoolers, I can already see the sincerity in their hearts and behavior.
It takes time. Years. Don't rush it. Allow them to discover, to learn, to grow.
No matter what else I do in life, nothing will matter more or bring me more joy than leading my family to Jesus. Nothing I do on a daily basis is more significant to me than being a missionary mom.