In light of the different things we’ve been talking about with identity over the past few weeks, how should we be training our children?
In the beginning of this series, I spent a post discussing how the Bible calls us not to think of ourselves as a certain thing, but instead to focus on the jobs that God has given us to do. We want to teach this same idea to our children.
We want to teach them, primarily, that they are children of God. As children, they can learn to see their sin, and to turn to Christ. As they come to realize this, we can show them that love of God leads us to obedience to the works that He’s commanded us to do.
We need to teach our children to be servants. Christ was our prime example in this, and along with example, we are given instructions:
A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man, having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work.
If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?
As moms raising children to go out into the world, we do want to encourage them to work hard. We want them to be diligent in their work, and learn that good grades are a reflection of a job well done. But we want to be careful that we’re never training them that their good grades in math are going to define who they are. It will, most likely, have a lot to do with a future job, but it is never who they are. They remain children of God, with the same commands to be servants in the world around them.
I think that if we could instill this mindset in our kids, we would protect them against some of the disappointments life brings. It would certainly help our daughters when they transition into motherhood from whatever they were doing before. It will help both our daughters and our sons when they get married and learn that their innate selfishness will only lead to misery in a marriage. It will help when they don’t get the promotion they wanted. It will help them as they age and have to care for an ailing parent or spouse. It will help if God blesses them with handicapped children. It will help them to lay aside their own desires, long-term, to do kingdom work that does not have immediate rewards here.
So let’s train our children–not just to get good grades in school, but to love the autistic kid in class that everybody else is scared of. Let’s teach them to stay and clean up the Sunday School room after the other kids have run out. Let’s be careful to look at the world through their eyes, and help them see who they could be serving. Let’s teach them that their identity is in Christ, as servants to a hurting world.