When having a conversation with some friends the other day, we were talking about how most parents want their kids to grow up to be good people. Of course there’s nothing wrong with hoping for this, and I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time, but I knew that just “being good people” isn’t all that we want for our kids. For some reason the conversation made me feel unsettled inside.
What kind of Mom am I to not want our kids to be good people?
It sounds crazy, right? Of course that’s what we should want for our kids! To grow up to be good people who do good things and maybe have kids themselves to add more good people to the world.
I remembered that I’d written about this before in the post, How to raise kids to be committed Christians:
Some say they want to raise good people. Of course we all want our kids to grow up to be kind, generous people, but what is “good” and who decides? That’s so wishy-washy and susceptible to whatever the culture tells us is right, or to whatever a person desires at each moment. We all know how easy it is to convince ourselves that something is “right” when we really want it to be so. Instead we hope our kids walk closely with God who is unchanging, so HE can guide them to what is truly good and right.
By the way:
Kent and I are blessed with four kids who are awesome people. They have big hearts, they are kind, considerate, helpful, and a ton of fun to be around. We’re so grateful we get to be their parents. However, we’re praying that as they grow older their faith will deepen, so they’ll become even more the people God wants them to be…
So I was thinking more about what I DO hope and pray for them and this is what I came up with so far:
I pray our kids…
- Will love God’s Word (this takes practice and commitment!) and cherish Jesus in the Sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, so they’re drawn to receive Him often, even if the singing is bad and the preacher is boring. And that their faith is deep enough to stay strong and faithful even when the singing is bad and the preacher is boring. Here’s an excellent Bible in one year podcast! It’s only a few minutes each day, you can listen anywhere, while you’re driving, on a walk, cooking, etc. Father Mike gives great explanations for the hard-to-understand parts of the bible!
- Will keep their priorities in order and live their lives in line with that: JOY = Jesus first, others second, yourself last.
- Will do the right thing when no one is looking, even when it’s difficult, costly, or inconvenient, or when “everyone” is doing it. (“Everyone lies sometimes!”, “Everyone lives together before they’re married!”)
- Will use their gifts from God to serve others–He gave us all different gifts for a reason!
- Will love their family and friends selflessly so it draws them and others to greater holiness.
- Will love the Lord so much that they’ll feel compelled to help others know Him too, in whatever way He leads.
- Will look at everyone through the lens of love, no matter their appearance or what their lifestyle or choices are. Not that every choice is right in God’s eyes, and there are times to speak up about this, but not often and only with great care and prayer. In most cases just being a friend and loving them where they are is what God asks. Later in His time He can guide them to make any changes, maybe that’ll be through you or maybe not. How many times have we started to make assumptions about someone by their situation or how they seem on the outside, then later got to know them and their whole story and found out they were not at all what we first thought? Few are drawn to God through a judgmental person, which leads to the next one…
- Will be aware of their own shortcomings or bad choices, so it makes them humble and draws them to quickly ask God and others for forgiveness when needed.
- Will practice forgiving others. Choosing to let it go doesn’t mean what the person did was okay–not at all! It also doesn’t mean that you have to be chummy with them, but it does mean that you’re not hanging on to it anymore. Holding on to hate hurts us more than them. Forgiveness is freeing and I want our kids to know this! ( Here’s a good book about that: Why Forgive?)
- Will stay close to the Lord in the good times. That’s when it’s easiest to fall away from Him because we’re too comfortable. I pray they’ll use that time to practice gratefulness, to learn more from His Word, and serve more… (The lyrics in this song say it well.)
- Will not let worry take hold in their lives. I need to re-learn this one a lot, especially with adult kids. I pray they’ll hold tight to the Lord and trust Him in the challenging times instead of worrying. Even if it’s a matter of worry over lukewarm faith. Peaks and valleys are normal in our faith life–think of how Saint Teresa of Calcutta felt spiritually dry for many years. The key, however, is that she kept living her strong Christian life, even when she didn’t feel the hand of God. (Read more about that here: “What if I don’t feel anything?”)
- And in the bad times when their faith may be tested and they don’t understand why, that they’ll draw even closer and shine with the glory of God. That they will have the peace that is beyond our understanding, and won’t let their suffering be wasted. (Read more about suffering here. Watch: Why does God let bad things happen?)
What would you add to this list? What did I miss?
Lord help me to be a better example in all of this since our kids are watching. Increase their faith so they love you deeply, flood them with the grace to be open wide for conversion to happen! Give me wisdom so I never get in the way of that happening, especially by trying to make life easier or to “fix” everything for them.
May God bless all of our children!
More you might like:
- Basic Christianity FAQ’s (things you may have always wondered about)
- How to raise kids to be committed Christians (from an imperfect parent)
- How to know God’s will for our lives (you’ll love this)
- Surviving Infidelity (did you know that was even possible?)
- How to pray big for your child