Grandchildren are the crown of the aged and the glory of children is their fathers. Prov. 17:6 (ESV). Life is Beautiful is one of my favorite movies. The setting is WWII Europe, this story is based upon a true account of a father’s protection of his son while incarcerated in one of Hitler’s death camps. It demonstrates a parent’s creative wisdom used to protect his child from harm. I admire the fortitude and inspiration of this father.
Parenting is one of the most important tasks in life, asking for God’s guidance and wisdom daily is crucial. Additionally, for extended family members — aunts, uncles, grandparents, and siblings, there is much for us to consider as we interact within a family structure. In the next message–Stay in Your Lane (part 2) I’ll explain why.
We do well to understand the “of age” stages children go through. As I see it now, parenting contains three stages generally: Control, Motivation, and Inspiration. If the goal throughout each stage is to glorify God by obeying His teachings, we will succeed even with our failures along the way. Parenting is used by God to gain humility in our lives and a bountiful path for our children’s feet. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalms 119:105 (ESV)
In the beginning…
CONTROL is the beginning stage. When we look at NASA sending John Glenn to the moon, we realize that without a Control Center, success would not have been achieved. They needed calculated thinking from the brightest math, technology, and engineering minds to reach their goal; parenting involves Control Center principles as well. So let’s view it in this sense for the purpose of this writing. During these early years, parents are the critical thinkers, responsible for godly algorithms that produce success rather than sending their child into a trajectory of poor choices, confusion, and the resulting consequences. Children need controlled guidance in gaining contentment and security in their family. A loving family where the parents give vision, provide stability and take responsibility for decisions is a good foundation to build upon.
The MOTIVATION stage involves encouragement in the right direction, choices and decision making, requiring good management skills by the parents. This still involves some pulling upward toward a goal and some pushing into the correct lane. Rewarding good behavior is involved, as well as consequences for disobedience. Positive motivation is best. When we assume this position we focus upon the good things we see that can be further developed, rather than what is lacking.
The final stage is the most rewarding; both for us as parents and for God as our Heavenly Father. At this next stage, God is able to pour His creative passion into us as His children.
INSPIRATION is when you take your hands off, knowing you’ve done your job and the rest lay with your child’s individual choices. Our job is to pray, live an inspiring life ourselves, and entrust them to our good Heavenly Father. The level of investment parents give in the formative years, will influence the level of inspiration our children will be able to receive from us and live out for themselves.
Thankfully, it’s not all on us. Our Heavenly Father who created them, designed their personality, and gave them to us for a season – He has them! Like a tender plant, we were given guardianship for a season of watering and even if you have not always watered well, He can still cause growth and life. Why? Because His purpose and desire for each of our children are beyond our capacity to understand. He will work with them, and in the end, they alone will decide to pursue Him, or not. Ultimately, the decisions they make will determine their outcome. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live... Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV)
MOTIVATION differs from INSPIRATION.
Enjoy your life with God and BE an inspiration to others. The INSPIRATION stage comes when your children have come of age and you can now rejoice in the fact that you’ve done your part; let God their Father have full CONTROL.
In the movie, Life is Beautiful, the son lost his father in the death-camp but he gained a legacy. He would always remember a father who inspired him to dream that they were building a tank and that they could win the prize.
Think about how you can inspire those around you toward godly living. We are not doomed to a death-camp, yet there is danger to navigate. Our world of addictive social media alone requires major guidance and skill. Use godly inspiration to teach the next generation how to live, love and reach the goal of serving others. Teach them how to be content, with thankfulness, for what is given to them. Your example of this will go a long way.
Also, we need to self-examine and recognize any manipulating behavior in our lives, and repent of anything thing God reveals, so that we can be effective in using teaching moments to build godly character. Aspire to inspire!
Coming next: Stay in Your Own Lane... a note to family members.
Photo Credit: Demary File, Pixabay