Not That Into You: Imagining the End

30 07 2012

Parents, your relationship with your child is always changing. We want to help you make a lasting impact as your child grows and matures.

IMAGINING THE END

Focus your energy and effort on the issues that will make a lasting impact

Leaving Home: 5 Things I Want My Children to Take With Them

By Reggie Joiner

 

A few years ago my daughter Hannah, who was 20 at the time, moved out of my home. She moved into a house with a few other girls. It was one of those things I knew was coming, but I just didn’t know it was going to happen as fast as it did. She had been talking about it for a while, but one afternoon when I got home, everything was gone—well, the things she wanted to take were gone. She left the things she didn’t want.

I remember looking around and, as a dad, it was kind of a sad moment. I remember thinking this may be it. She may never be back in my house again. She may never move back. It created a little controversy in our house when it happened. One of the issues was with her eighteen-year-old sister who came to me very upset. At first, I thought she was upset because Hannah had moved. But I quickly found out that it had nothing to do with Hannah—all the curling irons in the house were gone.

I started looking around at the things Hannah had taken and the things she had left. Do you know what determined what she left and what she took? Simple. She took the things that were important to her and left the things that weren’t. Trust me, when I figured that out, I really started looking around—I wanted to make sure she took a picture of the family and me! But the bottom line was, what mattered to her was gone—with her—and what didn’t matter was left behind.

I had to keep telling myself, “Okay, she is twenty, she is on her own, she is in a house”. And as I went over it again and again in my head, late one night, I took out my notebook and I started writing. She was out of my house and doing her own thing. She was an adult and she was moving forward. So how do I pray for her how? I wrote down five things. And these are the five things I want to pray for all of my children. These are five things I want for all my children’s lives. But that night I prayed this for Hannah:

1) That she will keep moving in a direction towards God. That is the end goal. At the end of it all, I just want to make sure that whatever happens in her life, she just keeps moving in a direction towards God.

2) That she will have an ongoing relationship with God’s Truth—that the value of Scripture and the value of God’s Truth will not dim in her life. I want the message to ring so loud and clear in the hearts of my children that they never get away from the power of God’s truth in their lives.

3) That she will have the right people in her life to challenge her and inspire her. This makes me nervous. This is what keeps me up at night. Besides her mom and me, I just want to make sure there are other adults, other friends, other people who will continue to challenge her and inspire her in her walk and her faith, because I know how important that is. That is community.

4) That we will still be friends. When it is said and done, isn’t that what every parent wants? Let’s be honest. Isn’t your dream that when your children grow up and move away that you are still good friends and still in relationship with them? Absolutely. I still want to have a degree of influence in her life. I still want to be her friend. I still want her to be friends with her mom, friends with her sisters and brother. I still want all that to stay in tact. I want that to be a value in her life that she never gets away from. From her graduation from college, to her wedding day, to when she has kids—I want all of that to be intact and all of that to be right. That is family.

I wrote down one other thing that I pray for.

5) That she will never get away from her sense of mission to be the church. I want her to know that she is wired, that she is created, that God designed her to be the church. I pray that her influence in whatever circle she lives in will be the kind of influence that God has designed her to have. I don’t want her faith to be tied to a place where she goes. Rather, I want her faith to pour into every area of life and every person she encounters. I pray that her significance will come not from what she is doing but from the fact that she knows she is doing the thing God called her to do, and that sense of purpose will always be a part of her life.

Those are five things I want to be really true of her life, and true of the lives of all my children. This, for me, is the essence of what a life needs to become, it’s what I want to move my children towards. And it’s not only how I pray, but the grid through which I process my actions and words to make these things a reality in her life.

These five things may not be a tangible object that Hannah or any of my other kids can pick up and pack up, but they are the things I want them to take with them—no matter how close or far from home they live.

 

Reggie Joiner is the founder and CEO of The reThink Group, and the author of Think Orange

Get connected to a wider community of parents at www.orangeparents.org

 

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Just Like the Movies

13 05 2012

Session 1 (May 13, 2012)

We have all seen a great movie, read a good book, or been to a fantastic restaurant.  While you may have just stumbled upon this experience by accident, I would be willing to bet that you were sent or told about that experience by a trusted friend.  Whenever we experience something great, we want our friends to experience it as well. That is why the most effective advertisement for a movie or book isn’t a trailer or blurb or critic review, but it is word of mouth from a friend. This isn’t news to you or your student, but this principle it important. We want our students to realize that they have influence over their friends. Their friends trust them, and trust their recommendations.  This level of trust is why the Bible teaches us that we need to be good stewards in our relationships. God has placed us in many relationships for a specific purpose, and while it could be to make sure our friends see good movies, I believe that it might be a little more than that.  God has placed us and your student in relationships to be his representative.  This is a huge idea, and a great responsibility. We want our students to realize that they have been entrusted by God with their relationships, and this realizations should change how we interact with our friends.

Talk to your student about a relationship in your life that you feel was placed by God.  Ask your student if they feel like God has placed any person in their life for a specific purpose.

Session 2 (May 20, 2012)

Last week, we began by showing our students the amount of influence that they have over their friends. As we conclude our two week series, we want to help our students to understand how they should use that influence.  The Bible uses many analogies to help make its point, and this week is no different. We are going to look at a famous passage with a simple idea: the word of God needs to be sowed everywhere.  While farming references can be difficult to grasp for our students, this principle is simple.  A seed cannot grow unless it is planted (or sown), and our job as Christians is to being planting the seed of the word of God in our friends.  We do not want our students to think that it is their job to make someone a Christian, that is a job only for God.  We want them to realize that their job is to point people towards God and His word.  Just like referring a friend to a great movie, we want to point our friends towards a great relationship with their heavenly father.

Talk to your student about a person who was influential in your spiritual growth. Ask your student why it is only their responsibility to spread the word of God and not make someone a Christian.





The New Rules for Love, Sex, & Dating: If I Were You

6 05 2012

Session 4 (May 6, 2012)

Are you who the person you are looking for is looking for?  This is an important question that has formed the foundation of our discussion over the past four weeks.  In the final week of The New Rules for Love, Sex, & Dating, we want to give our students some tangible actions.  We want to give them some things that they can be working on right now.  We want our students to start making wise choices in the area of the relationships now, so that they will have great relationships and marriages later.  Making wise choices now is important because the path taken is more important than any promise or commitment that is made.  Our students must understand that past actions are a better indicator of future behavior than a promise. Promises can be, and often are, broken.  Our students have the opportunity to start making decisions now that will not only benefit them now, but throughout their entire life. You don’t become the right person overnight. It takes work, and it takes a commitment to setting boundaries now.

Talk to your student how past actions are a better indicator of the future than a promise. Ask your student why it is important to set boundaries ahead of time. Ask your student how they can start becoming the right person now.





The New Rules for Love, Sex, & Dating: Designer Sex

29 04 2012

Session 3 (April 29, 2012)

God likes sex. I bet that isn’t a phrase that you hear very often.  Sex and the church don’t often mix. In fact, most people would say that the only thing the church has to say about sex is a resounding NO.  This just isn’t the case. Sex was created by God for us. However, sex has been corrupted into a merely physical act. Our students are bombarded every day with the myth that sex is only physical. Sex is not a big deal. We want our students to realize that sex is a big deal, and that sexual sin can have lifelong effects.  Sex is much more than a physical act. Sex has been designed and created by God to be so much more. We want our students to experience the true intimacy that sex was designed for. Our students need to realize that making a sacrifice now for something better later is an investment. Honoring your body as a teenager and protecting yourself from sexual sin now, will lead to greater intimacy later.  We want our students to grab hold of the principal that purity now will leader to greater intimacy later. This isn’t about saying sex is bad. This is about communicating to our students that sex can be great as long as you make the right choices along the way and choose to honor God with your body.

Talk to your student about how culture portrays the need for physical things between guys and girls. Ask your student if they believe sex is more than just a physical act. Talk to your student about honoring your body now can lead to greater intimacy later.





The New Rules for Love, Sex, & Dating: Gentlemen’s Club

22 04 2012

Session 2 (April 22, 2012)

Act like a man. This is a familiar phrase in our society. Maybe you have even said it to your own son. Our culture wants men who are strong, and men who show little emotion. Men who are tough and dominant. But is this what being a man is all about?  This week we want to our students, particularly the guys, to begin to understand what acting like a man really looks like.  Real men value women, and treat them with dignity, honor, and respect. Real men are servants. These ideas are not common, especially in a culture where women are treated as a commodity, as something that can be used and discarded. We want to challenge all of our male students to take the lessons of 1 Peter 3:7 to heart and “man up” by treating all women with respect.

Just as we want to challenge our guys to start acting like men, we want to encourage all of our girls that they are special and that they have real value. We want our girls to understand that they should have expectations of any guy that they have a relationship with. They need to hold guys to a high standard because they are worth it.  We want all of our girls to understand the immense value that they have in the eyes of their Creator. They are precious to God. We want this realization to permeate through all of their relationships. We want our girls to not only see the value that they have, but see the value that all women have in the eyes of God.

Talk to your student about what they think culture says about the role of women in society. Ask your son how he would want his future wife to be treated by other men right now. Ask your daughter how she would want her future husband to be treating other women right now. 





The New Rules for Love, Sex, & Dating: The Right Person Myth

15 04 2012

Session 1 (April 15, 2012)

Dates. Dances. Boyfriends. Girlfriends.  As a parent you are probably familiar with these ideas from your own past, but now you get to experience them from a whole new perspective with your student.  Students are beginning to enter into these worlds for the first time as they move through middle school and high school. For many students, their relationship is their identity.  They begin to believe the myth, that might continue for their entire life, that if they just start dating the right person then everything will be great.  Our lives can become defined by our relationship. The funny thing about this is that we spend so much time focusing on the other person that we forget about the other half of the relationship, ourselves. We will talk about what to look for in another person next week, but this week we want our students to realize that they can take control of their future now.  We want our students to stop looking for Mr. or Ms. Right and start becoming the right person themselves.

We want our students to embrace the qualities found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 in all of their relationships. Whether it is with the friends, siblings, or you, we want our students to start putting these principles into practice, and their is no better example than you. We want to challenge our parents to embrace the qualities of 1 Corinthians 13 in your own life. We want to set our students up for a life of great relationships and ultimate great marriage, and it starts now.

Talk to your student about the quality in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 that is the most difficult for you.  Ask your student if they would want their future (or current) significant other to embrace these qualities, and if that means they should start embracing them too.