We sometimes think that raising kids well is all about what we tell them. But what is even more important is what we show them. And if you want to do the best you can for the next generation’s sake, you’ll model at least these three traits in your home.
Security and Stability
Kids need to know that they’re safe, their basic needs are going to be provided for, and that they will be free to grow up in a stable environment. Selfishness often causes us to fight dirty, abandon, or neglect our spouse. Kids need to know that home is the safest place on the planet – the place to which we flee from a threatening world.
Oneness and Intimacy
Beyond merely keeping kids safe and letting them know that we’re stable in our marriage and as a family, we also need to go deep with each other. Getting up close and personal so that you know and are deeply known by your spouse really matters. It isn’t that Mom and Dad need to get along all the time perfectly or have it altogether, but that even when there is conflict, there is also love and commitment.
Kids not only need to hear the story of Jesus from beginning to end – they also need to see a living picture of the effect and the nature of the gospel. And with the gospel, truth is truth even when it’s painful. God’s expectations aren’t lowered or compromised. But the other half of the gospel is the redemption offered to us when we’ve failed to follow the rules. Legalism and perfectionism show our kids a false or shallow gospel, and so does permissiveness. In between is the balance of truth and grace and the good news of redemption for all of us who have messed up… and that’s all of us.
What else do kids need to learn from us?