What is the Family’s Job?
In his book, Think Orange, Reggie Joiner begins chapter three with a warning to parents: Don’t live just to make your kids happy. Of course, parents don’t usually start out that way. We want what is best for our kids. We want them to grow to be healthy and responsible. However, sometimes the line is crossed. We’re become so busy with possessions and experiences that sometimes the truly important things in life slip from view.
How do we prevent this in our families? By focusing on the right things. The things that really matter.
What should my family focus on?
Family Value #1 Imagine the End
Ultimately, our goal as parents should be for our kids to love God above all else. When Moses was giving his farewell speech to the Israelites, he reminded them again and again of what God had done and exhorted them not to walk away from the one true God. Sometimes as parents we’re so muddled down by feeding the kids, picking up their stuff, carting them here and there and trying to keep their grades up that we forget the crucial question “Who do I really want them to become?”. Fast forward twenty years and think about what kind of characteristics you want your children to be demonstrating. Chances are, they are godly characteristics. If so, what are we doing today to cultivate that? (Check out The 10 Best Decisions Every Parent Can Make to help with this!)
Family Value #2 Fight for the Heart
Moses is addresses the Hebrew people and says: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength”. Reggie explains, “The only thing that seperates a living faith from a ritualistic orthodoxy is one word, one idea, one compelling force: Love” (p57). If we want to pass on a legacy to our children, it has to be done in the context of relationship. Rules and practices outside this framework of love for God end up becoming empty and often offensive religion. Even explaining the reasons behind rules is not enough — reasons can be debated, but a trusted relationship cannot. Reggie explains, “The most important way you fight for the heart is to build a relationship that is trustworthy” (p59).