Parents will leave a legacy in their kids lives. Positive. Negative. Intentionally. Unintentionally. Calculated and planned. Unplanned and accidental. However it happens, the fact and truth is that it will happen. Parents will leave a legacy.
Parents, despite what many parents allow themselves to believe, still have one the biggest impacts in their child’s lives even in their teen years.
I’m not saying there won’t be others who also have big impacts in a teen’s life…I’m in Student Ministry because I believe that teens are, to borrow a friend’s quote, “Game Changers”. Students are vital to the church today and will lead the church tomorrow, and I want to be involved in helping students see their potential today and grow into those leaders for tomorrow.
That being said, parents must realize that they still have one of the biggest impacts in their child’s life, both when they are young and when they are a teen.
Did you hear that parents? You have a big…HUGE…impact in your child’s life. You will leave a legacy in your kids life.
Let me share a few reasons why this is true, and then a few thoughts on how to be intentional in leaving a positive legacy in your kids lives.
Why do Parents have an impact in their child’s life?
- That’s how God intended it to be. God calls parents to raise their children. Not Pastors or Youth Pastors or Sunday School Teachers. Parents are to raise their children, that is how God intended it to be. That’s why verses referring to raising children in the Bible are to be understood within the context of family (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Colossians 3:18-21, Proverbs 22:6). That doesn’t mean that others can’t help out…we all need help at times. But it ultimately falls back to the parent.
- You are the one they’ve grown up looking up to. From the moment a child is born, that child has a connection with their parents. Even as a newborn, they recognize their parents voice and feel safe when they are held by their parent. That never fully goes away. As they grow up and become more independent, they still have a need to be hugged and feel safe with their parents. They want to be like their parents as they are growing up. And while their ultimate goals in life might change when they get older, there is a part of every kid who still wants to be able to look up to their parent.
- They are often around you more than they are other people. Growing up this is especially true. At first they are with you almost 24/7. Then as they get a little older they have babysitters or childcare at times. When they get older and start school during the day, they are around you less (how much less depends on your choice of schooling). But they still come home each day to you, you are the one who drives them around, you are the one who comes to their activities and games the most, etc.
With that being said, the next question is how can we leave a positive legacy in our kids lives?
- Be intentional with opportunities that arise. In Deuteronomy 6:6-7 it tells us that we need to talk about God’s commands regularly in our house with our family. What that looks like is us taking any opportunity that arises to share God’s truth. It can be from something our kid says, something that happened in our day, something we see on TV, or it can even be through times we set aside to spend in God’s Word with our kids. Realize that there are always opportunities to talk about God, if we just look for them. Our kids need to learn how to live out Philippians 4:8 in the midst of a world that doesn’t always present God’s truth. We need to teach them to think critically in this life, by being intentional to teach our kids whenever possible.
- Be the example they will follow. Actions will always speak louder than words. Our kids will learn from what we say to them, but they will learn so much more from what we act like and do. If you tell them something, be sure it is backed up with your actions. If you tell them church is important, make it important. If you tell them to show love and respect to others, show love and respect to others. Don’t ever use the old saying “Do as I say, not as I do”…because it doesn’t work that way.
- Be in the business of raising adults. It’s become very popular in today’s world to see parenthood as simply protecting our kids and giving them every opportunity we can. Yes, we need to protect our kids, and yes opportunities are good. But if that’s all we see our jobs as parents to be, then we are simply raising older children who still need us to make decisions for them when they are older. We are to be raising our children to become adults, to realize the full potential God has given them as well as to live up to the standards God has set before them. When we raise adults, we go about it totally differently.
- Be gracious, both to them as well as yourself. No child is perfect. Neither are parents. We live in a sinful world, and we are sinners. God has shown us his AMAZING GRACE, and we need to be willing to show that to our kids as well as accept that for ourselves as parents. Kids will do things that are wrong, and yes there is a need for discipline (without discipline, kids become brats who don’t obey because they haven’t been taught the importance of it), but we must also show them grace. And we need to realize that we as parents will make mistakes…probably a lot of them. We must accept God’s grace, or else we’ll go crazy wishing we would have done something different or hadn’t made a mistake.
Parents, you will leave a legacy in their kids life; intentionally or unintentionally, positive or negative. Take this seriously. Be intentional about the legacy you leave them.