I have heard parents dither about when to talk to their children about sex. I submit that most children know the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ of sex, drugs, and drinking. There are more pressing issues:
Bullying– I have heard three generations now bemoan how “children today are so cruel!” and then do nothing more than tell their children not to do it. It is so important that “put downs” and “bullying” not be allowed to occur in the home between siblings or even between parents.
Self-esteem – I loved dressing my children when they were infants and pre-school. When they began to have their own ideas of what to wear, I made how they looked more about me than them. It was a reflection on me and how “good” a parent I was. What deception! It is more important that my children grow up empowered and encouraged to make good decisions. They must learn this at an early age, making ‘small’ decisions like what to wear to school so that they can move on to choosing friends and developing a commitment to studying and their activities like sports and music. As they make good decisions, big and small, we parents need to notice and reinforce that wisdom they are using.
Respect – Do my children see and hear that I respect them and their father? Do I listen when they speak? Even in discipline, do I show that I respect them as a person or do I use demeaning, humiliating tactics? 15 years later, my children say that they never heard their father and I fight. Through our divorce, we never denigrated or criticized each other to our children. I may not have liked some of my ex-husband’s actions but I respected him because he was the father of our children. I believe this – blessing of grace – has been a key component in the well-being of our children.
Faith – A child’s belief system is not something that is ‘covered’ because they do or believe what their parents tell them to believe. Their beliefs begin early as they observe what their parents believe and how those beliefs effect how their parents’ live their lives. Children must decide for themselves what they will believe and enter in to a relationship of their own accord. There is no “grandfathering” them in! They need a relationship with Jesus because it will affect their school experience, home life, and relationships with others. Children need to be shown how to be Jesus’ disciple through their parents’ example as well as study and worship. These are not experiences to be put off or ignored. Christ’s principles are better taught and learned through example instead of being preached. Life-class is now. Tomorrow may truly be too late.