Have you ever heard the quote, “Parents aren’t raising children, they are raising future adults”?
That kind of quote is what my friend Daniel calls “thinking material.”
It makes me wonder what kind of adults my kids will turn out to be. Will they be kind and generous? How will they define success? What mistakes will they make? Most importantly, will they know how much God loves them and will they devote their lives to him?
What kind of questions does it make you ask? What do you hope your kids are like as adults?
Being a parent is one of the most demanding roles in life. How many times have you heard a person without kids talk about how busy they are and think, If you only knew! Parents stay busy playing chef, chauffer, and social coordinator for their kids. The days turn into years, and somehow, the craziest phase of life speeds by and you’re left telling young parents, “Enjoy it. It flies by!”
The idea that my kids are future adults scares me a little. Not because I don’t have confidence in who they will become, but because I know how important my role in shaping them is. I know how consuming the day-to-day can be, and I don’t want to look back and wish I had been more intentional about things that matter after adolescence.
I bet some of you feel that too.
Here are three commitments I made years ago that I hope keep my eyes looking to the future adults my kids will be.
HAVE AWKWARD CONVERSATIONS
Kids are curious. Their questions start out harmless enough. “Where does the toilet water go when you flush it?” or “Why do you have hair under your arms?” Before long it’s “Why are some people mean?” and “Where do babies come from?”
How you handle those questions will determine what your kids do with more mature ones like, “Does God hate my gay friend?” and “Does evolution disprove God’s existence?”
In our house, no topic of conversation is off limits. We keep the content of conversations age appropriate, but we are committed to talking to our kids about anything and everything. They know they can ask us any question they have. Sometimes it can be awkward, but it’s worth it every time.
The truth is, kids will seek out answers to their questions somewhere. They’ll turn to Google, friends, or a teacher. I want my voice to be part of the chorus of voices influencing what they think and believe about things.
Kids want to know about sex, money, politics, racial tension, gender issues, and why some of our beliefs push against popular world views. They have questions about what they see online and what they hear their friends talking about.
If you aren’t talking to your kids about these things, who is doing it for you?
DON’T STOP LEARNING
No parent has all the answers. There are great, godly resources available that continue to shape me as a parent, as I work to shape my kids into adults. Staying connected to great resources helps to fill the gaps in my parenting.
Also, the world our kids are growing up in is very different than the world we grew up in. And it’s changing all the time. We don’t have to know every detail about every new thing out there, but keeping our finger on the pulse of adolescent culture and trends keeps us informed enough to be engaged.
PRAY FOR YOUR KIDS DAILY
Even if we managed to parent perfectly, kids will make their own choices and go down their own path. Ultimately, if our kids are going to know God’s great love for them, he has to be the one to open their hearts to it.
Clear Creek’s Lead Pastor, Bruce Wesley, has talked about how he used to pray through Ephesians 3:14-21 with his daughters in mind. This passage is a great place to begin.
Talk to God about your kids. Ask for his help as a parent. Ask for his presence in their lives. Ask him to do in their lives what only he can.
Our children will grow up and have families of their own. They will vote, they will shape the world, and hopefully, they will be our brothers and sisters in Christ.
What commitments can you make now that might influence their future adult selves?