Thursday, July 21, 2011

Preparing Your Children for the Beach...of Life

No, this is not another post about water safety! I am cautious around water, but enough is enough! This is more of what parents should be preparing their children for. For the past two Sundays my pastor has been preaching on children and how important they are in and how as parents (or as someone with influence over children) should be preparing our children the best we can to be Godly adults in the future. Children are our future; they will someday run our churches, our schools, our big companies and yes, our government. So what better to equip or children with than the Word of God and the wisdom we have learned from God.

Our pastor used a beach bag and the contents of it as an analogy to how we should be preparing our children for the future. I thought it was so insightful and simple that I wanted to share it with all my mommies (and daddies) out there!

My Beach Bag!

Sunscreen- When you are out at the beach, sunscreen is a must because you are in direct sunlight. We use sunscreen to protect our bodies from the sun. We need to be protecting our children from a lot of things that go on in the world. There are things that children should not be exposed to and as parents it is our responsibility to protect our children from these things.

Sunglasses- As like sunscreen protects our skin from the sun, sunglasses protect our eyes from the sun. What are you doing to protect your childrens' eyes? There is so much we need to be protecting our childrens' eyes from; stuff on TV to stuff going on in our daily lives. I think the first step in protecting our childrens' eyes is knowing what their eye are currently being exposed to. When we know what our children are seeing we can protect them a lot better than if we do not know.

Snack- Everyone knows that when you go to the beach (or the pool) you and your children get hungry after a while. So having a healthy snack in your beach bag is always a great idea. This works for our analogy too. We need to be feeding our children spiritually. We need to be feeding then healthy spiritual snacks from the Word of God, from our own wisdom that God has given us, and from the wisdom of other strong spiritual leaders in our or our childrens' lives. Reading the Bible to your children is a wonderful place to start. Find a childrens' Bible that you like and read a story a night. Take your children to church, have them participate in age appropriate Sunday School lessons and Vacation Bible School. Stay active and volunteer in the children's department at church. Because remember, it is YOUR responsibility to spiritually feed your child NOT the church's (the church is a tool to help you!)

Towel- After you get out of the water, or get done playing in the sand, a great thing to have is a towel to wipe off all the water and sand from your body. As parents we need to come to the reality that things are going to happen to our children that upset or hurt them. This is a sad, but real fact. So we need to teach them how to "wipe off" the bad stuff that happens to them in life. At first we are the fixers. We are the ones that fix (wipe off) the bad stuff that happens to our children, but as they grow up we need to be teaching them to do it for themselves because you won't always be there to do it (and independence is a part of growing up)

Aloe Vera- After being in the sun all day, your skin can sometimes get a little burned or pink. The aloe vera is great to soothe your skin, cool it, and heal it. We have already established that bad things happen. We have the towel to wipe them off, but that doesn't mean the wound is healed. Sometimes our children need soothing. This can come from us as parents, other family member or church leaders. This soothing part of healing should also come from God. This is where we teach our children the importance of prayer and how God can really heal and soothe us in our time of need. Pray with your children. Pray for each of your meals throughout the day, pray at bedtime and pray whenever it feels right. Praying with your children shows them how important it is and how important God is.

Umbrella- The last thing my pastor used was an umbrella. He talked about how the umbrella is an analogy for Jesus. We use the umbrella for shade and protection, but for it to do any good we have to open it up and hold it over us. We hold the umbrella over our children for a little while, but soon we have to teach them to hold it themselves. They have to learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him all on their own. If we equip our children with the right things then it will not be hard for them to accept faith in Jesus. Our goal is to help our children hold their own umbrella.

I loved the analogies my pastor used about raising children. I obviously asked him for permission to use them and he was very happy to agree and said that what he shares with us, he encourages us to share with others. I hope you are equipping your children to become wonderfully strong men and women of God. As always God bless you and your family!

Until the Whole World Hears,

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