Do you have a child who is struggling to make good decisions?
Earlier this year we were privileged to have Christopher Yuan and his parents* speak here at Grace. In a seminar, Mr. and Mrs. Yuan offered great insights from their experience of parenting a prodigal. In their brokenness, they said they needed a paradigm shift in 4 areas:
- I am not the cause my child’s faults. Adam and Eve had the perfect Father and they still messed up. Jesus was a perfect leader and his followers strayed. God does not call us to raise Godly children; he calls us to be Godly parents.
- I am not the cure. The father of the prodigal son did not pursue him and fix him. He waited expectantly for him to return when he was ready.
- Our children are not our own. They are God’s children and He entrusts them to us. Let Him handle them. Look first to God and be ready to lead them to Him when they’re ready.
- Love is not enabling. Children must each learn to face the consequences of their own choices and actions. When we interfere with that process, we get in God’s way.
How do we help lead our children to Christ?
- Allow them to see our own brokenness, humbly letting them see how God has worked in our own lives to help us to grow in relationship to Him.
- Model your daily devotion. The more time we spend with the Lord in prayer, His Word, His work, it will show in our lives.
- Nurture a healthy marriage. For those married, the best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother, and vice versa. As we work to love and support each other through our differences, we gain empathy, compassion, and understanding that helps us address differences with others.
- Practice a grateful heart. When we are so focused on what we desire God to do in the lives of our children, we can easily miss what he is already doing! Even in the middle of difficulty there are things for which to thank the Lord. When we see these things and give thanks, we move closer to God and learn to trust Him more.
Until our child’s heart is in the right place, it may seem that nothing we do is right. As Jesus encouraged us, keep praying and don’t give up! Luke 18:1
*I recommend their books, Out of a Far Country and Holy Sexuality.