Teaching kids boundaries and life skills can be an exhausting business. I often feel like it is Groundhog Day in my household – we repeat the same instructions to the kids, but they don’t seem to listen as much we would like. It is tempting to give up, but as parents, we believe that we have a crucial role to play in teaching the children boundaries as well as general etiquette. If we need some extra motivation, we remember that our mandate is a Biblical one. We rely on the strength of God, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it” (Proverbs 22:6).
THE DAILY STRUGGLE
What DVDs are appropriate to watch and which ones are not!
What words and actions are appropriate and which aren’t.
How to eat at the table.
Saying ‘thank you’ and ‘please.’
How much ‘screen’ time is acceptable on a daily basis!
As parents, we fully understand the magnitude of our God-given responsibility and we believe firmly in guiding our kids as much as possible. We live in a world where ‘anything goes’ and this is the sentiment that our children will hear everywhere they turn. However, this is not what the Scriptures tell us and so with grace we need to show our kids the path that God has chosen for us. We pray that the results will be worthwhile in the end and that we would have guided our kids to become Christ-like adults, who have a respect for others and for themselves.
KIDS GROW UP
But, is this just for our kids? What about the adults in our communities? Increasingly, I see that we are living in a world where adults have no idea of boundaries either. A huge dilemma we are facing in society and especially in the Church is “How do we go about teaching boundaries, faith-skills and Godly living to adult Christians?” I sometimes despair when I read in the media of how Christians behave. It seems as if there are adults acting worse than toddlers do! But what can one do? After all adults don’t want someone to tell them what to do and how to live, or do they? I feel that many Christians are actually crying out for Discipleship. Men and women want to be mentored and guided in their faith. We want to learn from others and know that we are on the right path. We want to know what the Scriptures teach.
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them” (Deuteronomy 4:9).
The basis for the boundaries I am trying to instil in my children are effectively the same kind of principles we need to drive home to adult Christians. They may look slightly different, but in essence, they are the same.
What is appropriate behaviour?
How much is enough?
What words build up and which break down?
How do I follow Christ sincerely?
So, the next time you are getting frustrated asking your children to ‘clean up their messy rooms’ or to ‘turn the phone off’, think of it in a broader sense. What we model and shape in our kids today will play out in society tomorrow. If we turn them towards the ways of Jesus today and help them understand Godly boundaries, then we will not only bless them, but also our communities of the future.
“Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair and you will find the right way to go” (Proverbs 2:9)