I love living in today’s culture. Sometimes I listen to podcasts about the past, and I becoming incredibly thankful for all the things that we have right now. All the advances we have are incredible and the easiness it brings to our lives is fantastic. For example, I recently went back to school and received my Master’s degree in Youth and Family Ministries. It was a cake walk compared to my undergrad more than a decade ago. Was the school work lighter? No, it was more work but because of technological advances I had an easier time. Gone were the day’s of putting together a table of contents or footnotes. I didn’t have to write down the info on an index card, stick it into a pile of other index cards and then go back later for a paper. Now I could read on my Kindle, highlight, copy and paste, and boom footnote is added. If I had this during my undergrad, I might have scored a lot better in classes (Of course I might not have, I still had a lot of growing to do).
Like I said, I love living in today’s world. But as a parent, I am terrified of raising my kids in this same culture. Why? Because it is easy for students to become influenced by the wrong people. I am not just talking about celebrities or pseudo-celebrities I’m more worried about complete strangers. Currently, with social media, teens can be influenced by other’s opinions. They can get lost in body images or even use tools to alter their online appearance. Teens can be bullied by people all over the world. It’s hard to protect our students from dangers close by, but now the world is at their fingertips and the world is not always kind, especially the internet.
As a parent, I know I can’t protect my children from everything in this world and as a more hands-on parent, I don’t like that fact. However, that doesn’t mean I simply sit back and allow outsiders be an influence on my children’s lives. The primary influence on any family’s life is the parents. Students are still subjected to other influences, but it is the parent’s job to make sure that they remain the first influence over their children’s lives.
As a Christian parent, I know that my faith is the main influence I want my children to have. Biblical faith is meant to be generational. What I mean by that, is that the faith that I have should be passed down from generation to generation, so that my grandchildren will have a stronger grasp of the faith than I do right. As I grow in my faith, I am growing faith to the next generation.
3 Ideas To Influence Your Family
Part of my plan to be proactive in remaining the number one influence in my child’s life is to have intentional spiritual moments. Here are a few ways we’re doing that.
Rite of Passages Experience
At my church, we use a resource from http://www.parentministry.net, called Rite of Passages. These rituals start from birth and go to graduation and are intended to be used every year to have a special moment with your children. I recommend this resource to every church.
There is plenty of research out there that shows the importance of eating meals together. Currently, we have dinner with each other almost every day, but I am slowly working up to adding more spiritual time into the supper time conversation. Once a week, we recap what they talked about on Sunday and how we can apply it to our daily lives. In the near future, we might be using a resource from D6 called Splink, which comes to my email every week for free. You can check out more at http://d6family.com/splink/
Great Family Experiment
I came across this resource a month or so back, from Connexus Community Church called the Great Family Experiment. http://www.connexuscommunity.com/gfx/ Currently there is only three experiments right now, but over Christmas break we are going to be doing the Widen the Circle material.
These are just a few ways we’re trying to be intentional in how we influence our children. I would love to hear from you, on ways you are influencing your family. Leave your ideas in the comments below.