Chaplain, Jake Tassy, shares some great, practical discipleship advice for parents in this week's blog!
There was a time where you could say "What's up Dawg?" and people would immediately know that you were asking “How are you?” Nowadays, I might get the smile or laugh I was looking for (maybe even the “cool guy” head bob), or it might just date me…I don’t know which! Today, I’m gonna talk to you parents about “keeping it real” with your kids, and something I like to call “D.A.W.G –Discipleship As We Go.”
Before I get started, let me remind you of the WCCS theme verse for the year:
13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Corinthians 5:13-15 (NIV)
Christ's love should compel us to parent as best as we can! This verse should penetrate our hearts so deeply as parents that from the overflow, our children begin to understand His grace and love.
Now, let me “keep it real” with you for a minute and remind us of something we all know, but sometimes forget. You have 18 brief years with your kids to disciple and have those faith-forming conversations, and there is no “perfect” moment to have them in this imperfect world.
Opportunities to teach what you feel you need to teach are just flying by! As parents, we each have different and varied stories (long, good grace filled marriage, divorce, separation, single parenting, still grand-parenting, guardianship). Along with those stories, there are so many distractions, flaws, issues, mess, junk, and frustrations that affect us being compelled by Jesus' love as parents. Our children know it. We don't naturally migrate to being real and authentic. Are you starting to feel overwhelmed? Wondering what you can do?
D.A.W.G. = Discipleship As We Go.
Let’s take a lesson from Jesus. He simply walked alongside people (1 John 2:6)! Parents, if you are waiting for the perfect moment to disciple your kids, you are going to miss out on all the real, imperfect moments to authentically pour into the hearts of your kids. Jesus simply asked good questions of his disciples as he guided them through the real life moments, and if we are to live as Jesus lived, then we should do the same. It’s okay to disciple as you go, D.A.W.G! Here are a few practical suggestions I have come up with to get you started:
Take time to just BE with your children: I’m talking side by side and ear to ear! Detox from media, television, and technology and do something hands on with your kids….have a picnic at the park, play basketball, make a fun dessert or a messy craft, go on a walk together, go camping, let them stay up late talking to you. These are where the real conversations happen!
Aim at the heart and not the behavior when disciplining: Our aim as parents should always be to point our kids towards Jesus. Remember, God is much more concerned about your child’s heart than he is their behavior. Teach your child the gospel and let that transform their hearts! They’ll learn to love and obey him.
Teach by example: Your kids will learn much more from what you do than from what you say. Do you ever tell your kids you’re sorry when you mess up as a parent? Are you spending time soaking in God’s Word, sharing what you’ve learned with your kids and letting them see you live it out in a practical way? Are you the type of Christ-follower you want your child to grow up to be? Modeling your own faith walk in front of your kids is powerful stuff.
Create a safe place for your kids to be “real”: Let your kids ask the hard questions without fear of your reaction. Don’t be afraid to remember back to when you were their age and facing the same temptations, fears, and struggles. The things that God taught you out of those times can be of great aid to your children now. Be the first to bring up those “touchy” topics and get the conversation rolling. Talk about Truth in those real life moments when it’s not showing up in the world (an ugly exchange between a referee and a superstar athlete, a trailer for an inappropriate movie, a conflict between two extended family members, the list is endless).
Pray: I’ve saved it for last, but it’s the most important. You can’t change your child’s heart. Only God can do that. Pray that the Holy Spirit would draw them to himself and do a work in their lives. Ask God to help you connect with them.
I think Deuteronomy 6:5-7 sums it up so nicely.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” As a parent, all we can do is simply love God with all our heart and encourage our kids to walk alongside us as we model how they can do the same.
Lower school chapels have started. We just had our first Upper School Chapel last week where I spoke with students about this whole thing about “keeping it real” in their spiritual lives. Chapels are now in the gym on Wednesdays at the Upper School (10:11-10:56am). Come worship with us! Ask your students what they've learned. It's a great time to reset and ruminate on God's truth. I pray it will have an impact on your family and the WCCS community.
Let's be Real, D.A.W.G. (head bob and a wink;-)