Raising Truly GREAT Kids

Last weekend (March 7-8) Jon and I attended a Family Matters conference in San Antonio, lead by Tim Kimmel, called “Raising Truly GREAT Kids.”  Great kids is something I think we all desire but is it possible?  I believe that it is possible and I appreciated his wisdom and encouragment shared. I will try to share a few highpoints.  Visit their web site and I recommend the following resources I have read:

  1. Raising Kids For True Greatness;
  2. Grace Based Parenting;
  3. Little House on the Freeway
  4. plus many others.          

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.  Psalm 127:1a

Obstacles to Raising Truly Great Kids:

1) The Antagonistic culture we live it.  Many parents encourage their children to grow up to fast through placing an enormous emphasis on:

  • Education
  • Beauty
  • Sports

Parents are raising their children in a society that does not recognize moral absolutes and without moral boundaries parenting is extremely complicated.

Parents are encouraged to embrace the success illusion based on the accumulation of things, accomplishments, and recognition at the expense of close relationships. 

2) Our hurried lifestyles are counter-productive.  I’m sure you all would agree that families are under constant stress.  Tim Kimmel wrote a great book “Little House on the Freeway” that greatly helped our family when Caryn and Courtney were in grade school.  A few wisdom winners we applied:

  • Eating together as a family at least 5 nights a week.
  • Our girls were limited to 2 outside activities which allowed for evening meals together as well as weekends together. 
  • We’ve attended either a marriage or parenting conference every other year for the past 20 years.
  • Celebrating each other and special milestones.
  • Reading together as a family.
  • Reading from the “Children’s Story Bible.”
  • and much more.

3) Our ineffective parenting styles mislead us.  This was true for us early on as we would buy into a particular parenting philosophy. We learned to listen to the differing philosophies out there but sought God as to what we needed to apply or discard based on each of children’s personality and bent.  There are many parenting styles out there such as:

  1. Fear Based parenting.
  2. Shame based parenting.
  3. Image control parenting.
  4. High control (helicopter)parenting.
  5. Duct tape parenting.
  6. Life support or 911 parenting.

4) Our job as parents is complicated with unexpected challenges.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a book or conference out there with all the answers and a clear job description?  Well there is not as I have read many books and learned the need to depend on God for direction and insight.

Raising Truly Great Kids [Grace-based parenting] Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.  Psalm 127:1a

God desires us to raise children who love Him, live for Him and make an eternal impact in their world.  I recently heard someone say,  “many young Christian adults never go to the mission field because of their parents.”  These parents insist their child needs to get a college degree, then the right job or mate, etc… Often as parents we default into 2 dangerous extremes when it comes to raising children –  legalism or license (over-permissiveness). However, the happy medium is grace based parenting which is a balance between grace and truth; focusing how you do what you do vs. what you do.  It is treating your children the way God treats His! 

Grace-based parents:

  • Accept children regardless of merit.
  • Serve children’s needs without a sense of obligation.
  • Joyfully recognize their child’s God-given potential and do what they can to develop that potential for God’s glory. 

Grace-based parents give their children: 

  • freedom to be different (weird, bizarre, strange, goofy, quirky, etc.) 
  • freedom to be vulnerable.  Children are allow to express their fears, feelings, inadequacies, short comings, etc. knowing they will be heard.
  • freedom to be candid making it easy for them to voice things that may be troubling their hearts.  As a family we would hold weekly staff meetings and at times we would give the girls an opportunity to confess anything weighing upon them without fear of consequences.  This was a time to come clean of sin.  Also we would ask have we done anything to damage our relationship with you?  We desired to keep short accounts and ask forgiveness if necessary. 
  • freedom to make mistakes.  A grace based home is a place where disappointments are endured, moral setbacks are properly processed, and a relationship is never ended because of sinful actions.  When a child is the hardest to love, that is when they need love the most. 

This was a video shown that so wonderfully displays grace.    Also read and reflect on the Prodigal son story in Luke and how he was received back.