Parenting may be the most demanding and the most challenging job a human being could have. Parenting is tough work. It’s not for wimpy people, it takes courage, grit, tenacity, persistence, deep love, unselfishness and a lot of other things.
What Kids Need From Their Families
What do kids need from their families? Let’s take a look at four symbols for a family that brings out the best in their kids.
It doesn’t require a whole lot of intelligence or strategy to play this game. It’s purely a game of chance. So why does the game Candy Land represent amazing families?
1. Kids need a family that is fun.
This is the missing ingredient in so many families today. Some families, over time, become more and more serious. Who wants to come home from school to that? Who wants to come home from work to that?
The fact is, your family is not a boot camp and parents are not drill sergeants. Your family is not a business and parents are not CEOs. A family is not a laboratory and parents are not research scientists experimenting on differen parenting tactics.
There is no perfect child, no perfect parent and no perfect family. There is no science to being a family, it’s an art. Fun and laughter is a skill that has to be learned.
Now, most people know that the Bible encourages us to work. The Bible also encourages us to have fun. The Apostle Paul says this to Timothy…
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” 1 Timothy 6:17
“Children are a gift from God.” Psalm 127:3
A gift is given and it’s meant to be enjoyed. God meant for you to play and have some fun. Solomon tells us to enjoy every day, because you don’t know how long you’re going to live. You don’t know if you’ve got next week, next month.
Your kids know if you’re enjoying them or not. People don’t remember what you say, but they will remember how you made them feel. That’s important advice for any relationship, especially a parent. Your kids aren’t going to remember much of what you said especially from the early years of their lives, but they will remember how you made them feel.
The greatest gift you can give your kids is your time, because when you give them your time, you’re giving your life. So Candy Land is the symbol of what amazing families give their kids. because amazing families are fun and playful.
We use this to water flowers, plants, vegetables. In many ways a family is like a garden. You have to grow it and develop it. A garden doesn’t grow on its own. You have to weed it. You have to water it. You have to care for it. This is the second characteristic that kids need from their families.
2. Kids need growth.
If your family’s not growing, your family is boring. You’re just stuck in a rut. Look at how Jesus grew. This is when Jesus was twelve years old.
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with man.” Luke 2:52 NIV
Notice four kinds of growth there.
- Grow in wisdom- intellectual growth/mental growth
- Grow in stature – physical health
- Grow in favor with God – spiritual growth
- Grow in favor with man- relational growth
Take a look at some things you must learn in your family. If you don’t learn them there, life’s going to be tough for you.
-What to do with emotions
How do I deal with how I feel? In an amazing family you learn how to recognize your feelings, and how to express your feelings correctly rather than incorrectly. A family should be a safe place to learn how to deal with anger, disappointment, joy, winning and losing. We learn how to recognize good emotions from harmful ones.
-How to handle conflict
When it’s appropriate, kids need to see problems being worked out and how we deal when we have differences, get hurt or get mad.
-How to handle loss
Nobody wins all the time. In fact, for a kid to have an unbroken string of wins early in life with no losses is actually detrimental to them. Because when they get out in the real world and they face loss, it’s devastating. Failure isn’t final and the best place to learn that, is in the home.
-What matters most
You have to help your kids know what is important and what is not. The world teaches that all that matters is how you look, that image is everything. The world teaches that the more money you have, the more fulfilled you’ll be. The world teaches that everything is about sex. The world teaches that the more you can get people to praise you, the more valuable you are. That’s not true. We have to learn what matters most.
-How to develop good habits
Habits determine our character. Now, how do you help your family grow in this? Here are two ways that help people grow and two ways that don’t. This applies in every area of life.
- People grow through example
Most things are going to be caught, not taught. You don’t have to turn everything into a teachable moment. Jesus always led by example. He washed the disciples feet and then said go and do likewise.
- People grow through conversations
Most conversations we have with kids have to do with schedules, eating or homework. With so few conversations about the stuff that really matters in life.
- People NEVER grow through criticizing
We think that being critical of someone will actually help them grow. It has never, ever, ever worked. Nagging, condemning and complaining don’t work. Because when you criticize, you’re focusing on what you don’t want rather than what you do want. Eventually, people realize you are impossible to please. Through all your incessant criticizing they will never measure up.
You have to promote the alternative. That’s called repentance. Changing your mind, changing your belief and changing your focus. Repentance doesn’t mean stop doing that. It means start doing this, walk this way instead.
- People NEVER grow through comparing
Not all comparison is bad. You need people in your life that help you see areas you can grow in. Unhealthy comparison is comparing someone in your life to anybody else. You should never compare your wife to anybody else. You should never compare your husband to anybody else. You certainly should never compare your kids.
A raincoat is for protection. Jesus said it rains on both those who do right and those who do wrong. Good things and bad things come into everybody’s life whether you’re doing it right or doing it wrong.
Every member of your family is going to go through storms: emotional storms, financial storms, moral storms, physical storms and relational storms. When you go through a storm you’re going to need some protection. Families are meant to be a raincoat in the storms of life.
3. Kids need protection in storms
Not protection from storms, because you’re not going to be able to protect them from all the storms. No matter who in the family is going through a storm, everyone is there to help each other, we protect each other. Families stick together. Families are a raincoat.
“Reverence for the Lord gives a man deep strength; his children have a place of refuge and security.” Proverbs 14:26
Here are three storms we face that families can help with:
Change: Change is a storm in life and can be upsetting, particularly to kids. You need family for every major event or even minor changes.
Harmful ideas: Many children are provided for but they are not protected. They are going to movies and watching shows they have no business watching, reading books and listening to music they have no business being engaged in and following celebrities youtube channels they have no business following. Part of parenting is making choices for your kids that they can’t make themselves.
Rejection: This is a storm all of us face at some point in life and it’s the most painful storm of all. When we feel betrayed or rejected. When your children are rejected or when your husband or your wife feels rejection at work, the family needs to rally around and be there as a raincoat in that storm. Kids aren’t going to make every team and get every job. So instead of chewing out the coach or the teacher, be there for your kid.
Kids instinctively know they can’t take care of themselves. They know they need a family to take care of them. This is why the most vulnerable people in the world are orphans. Kids need to be cared for. Particularly in the storms of life. Rock Brook is a church full of teachers and nurses and coaches and RBfK teachers and parents who’ve adopted and people who love the kids in their life, their grandkids and nieces and nephews and friends. We are a church that supports life and is pro-life for everyone, from conception to natural death. That’s called family. Families are for life.
Amazing families don’t just care about themselves, they care about others and they actually care about the whole world because God loves the world. Average families are self-centered. They only care about themselves and their own kids. This is the secret that moves you from average to amazing. You begin to care about more than just your own family.
4. Kids need serving opportunities
The way you serve God is by serving others. Kids need families that understand it’s not about them. Amazing families teach their kids they were made by God for a mission and they were shaped to serve God. Parents are to instill in their kids the value to care about other people.
“Let us think about each other and help each other to show love and do good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24
Amazing familes teach each other to show love and we teach each other to do good deeds. Good deeds are called ministry, they are called service. A good example of this is a Cornelius’ family in the book of Acts.
“He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; they gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.” Acts 10:2
What a great legacy! What if 2,000 years from today, people say your family was devout and God fearing, that you gave generously to those in need and you prayed to God regularly. Average families don’t do those things. Amazing families do.
Are you modeling these things to your kids? Are you teaching your kids to be selfish or think of others? If they see you being generous, they’re going to be generous. If they see you having gospel conversations, they will learn how to talk to their friends about Jesus too.
Amazing families are not perfect families, but they are intentional. They become amazing by choice.
You’re not an amazing family by accident. You become an amazing family by making choices, decisions, commitments and even making sacrifices. If this isn’t your story then today you can say,
No matter what stage my family is in, I’m going to make the rest of it, the best of it. We’re going to start a new legacy.
“Choose today whom you will serve… As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord!” Joshua 24:15
It doesn’t matter what other families do, me and my family, we’re going to serve the Lord. Until you make that decision dad, husband, mom, as for me and my family we’re going to serve the Lord, family isn’t even going to make sense.
Check back on your discussion from last week. Do you have any more thoughts about the message on Fighting for Your Parents and taking care of your parents in their old age?
Hear the Word
Kid’s need certain things that are best given to them from their family…
1. Fun (1 Timothy 6:17, Psalm 1:27)
2. Growth (Luke 2:52)
What do we learn from our families?
- What to do with our feelings.
- How to handle conflict.
- How to handle loss.
- What matters most.
- How to develop good habits.
- Through example
- Through conversations
- NOT through criticism
- NOT through comparing
3. Protection in storms (Proverbs 14:26)
Types of storms…
- Harmful ideas
4. Serving opportunities (Hebrews 10:24, Acts 10:2, Joshua 24:15)
- What stood out to you in this message?
- What was your family environment like when you were growing up?
- Family development occurs in an environment of lifelong learning in which everybody encourages growth in everybody else. What are some ways children can encourage their parents in physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental growth?
- Things that can be learned only in families include how to handle feelings, how to handle conflict, how to handle loss, and what values matter most. Briefly describe one of these points that you did or did not learn as a child in your family.
- Parents should set a good example for their children. What kinds of deeds are practical to demonstrate to children?
- In what practical ways do you think you can teach your children about Scripture?
- Compare the aftereffects of criticizing children with the aftereffects of enlightening them with love regarding their misbehavior or wrongdoing.
- What are ways family members can protect each other in storms of life such as life changes, failure, or rejection?
Tell Someone Else
Do you know anyone who could benefit from this message? Consider who God is leading you to encourage this week in light of this message.