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Train Your Children for the World They Will Live In (not the one you want them to live in)

train your children

As parents, you must train your children for the world they live in instead of the one you want them to live in. This is a reality check of what kids need now.

Do you remember ‘the good old days’? You know, the days when television was in black and white, and your parents didn’t have to worry about what you watched… or where you were? A time when telephones weren’t in people’s pockets but only attached to walls? Can you remember a time when it was a rare occasion for families not to eat together at the dinner table nearly every night?

Sometimes we think it would be great to go back to ‘the good old days’. And in some ways, I’m sure that it would.

But the reality is that we can’t and won’t be able to go back to those days, even if we wanted to. In fact, with as much as has changed in the world since we were kids, and with all the advances in technology, the world is changing at an even faster pace than ever before. And no doubt, things will change even more drastically by the time our children are adults. (Scary, right!?)

Is it really fair?…

With that thought in mind, is it really fair for us as parents to try to pressure our children with change because of the way things “used to be,” by saying things like “Well, when I was a kid…”

Now, I’m not suggesting that as parents we shouldn’t share with our kids the pros and cons of previous generations. And I’m also not suggesting that parents should do away with timeless parenting principles like biblical discipline and intentional parenting. But I am suggesting that parents should be careful not to parent as if they are still living in another generation.

While it would be wonderful if we could raise our children in the more protected society that we were once raised in, or take them back to enjoy some of our glory days, that is not what God has called us to do.

God has not called us to raise our children to preserve our past but to influence their future.   

God has called you to train your children as a generation of young people who are equipped to live in and change the world around them – a world that is constantly changing.

Philippians 2:15-16 “… be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life.”

Parents, this requires that you intentionally train your children for the world they will live in, not the world we want them to live in. (as much as that hurts)

So what does this look like?…

Well, it looks like us having to make some tough decisions about when and where and how to introduce our children to changes in our current world that will affect them for the rest of their lives.

While every parent may come to different conclusions and specifics for how to train your children, the one thing we cannot do is simply remain silent or refuse to prepare them for these things.

So, considering the world we currently live in, here are some ideas for training your children:

  • DECIDE what to do with technology and devices in your home. Like it or not, technology is here to stay. So how will you allow your children to use it? What will be the rules and limitations? When is an appropriate age or maturity level for them to have their own device? And what about social media? As parents, you must decide. And a passive decision not to decide is a decision in and of itself.
  • NAVIGATE how to address sexual and moral issues of our day. As the generations pass, the age to talk to our kids about sex has forcefully been lowered (unless we want someone else to talk to them about it first). Because… “In a race to a child’s heart, the first one there wins.” In addition, our children not only need to know what LGBTQ means but what the Bible says about it. And they not only need to know what the Bible says about it but also how to properly respond with grace when they personally face it. Because if they haven’t, they will. (Here’s an eye-opening article every parent should read… LGBTQ Indoctrination Aimed at Kids)
  • COMMUNICATE about body safety and important boundaries. Sadly, the statistics show that while sexual abuse among kids is on the rise (1 of every 5 children), in 90% of sexual abuse cases, the child knows their abuser. In other words, it’s not happening by strangers. This requires that we have some sensitive conversations with our children about things like appropriate and inappropriate touch, knowing how to properly respond in uncomfortable situations, and the importance of not keeping secrets. (Here’s a great article I read on this topic recently.)
  • EXEMPLIFY a lifestyle of radical evangelism. The world around us needs Jesus more than anything else, and that will never change. Never before has the world needed God’s grace to be seen through God’s people more than now. The only hope for the world and for our children in their future is not just that they know how to give all the right answers, but that they know how to point people to the right person – Jesus Christ. Can your children see you regularly and graciously pointing other people to Jesus? Because a passion to witness and a drive to see lost souls saved is almost always something that is caught, not taught. Will your children be able to catch this from you?

There are certainly more areas that could be covered, but these are some of the key ones… and I think you get the idea. As parents, we have to be willing to acknowledge that our children live in a much different world than we grew up in, and as a result, our parenting methods and strategies must reflect that. Because… believe it or not, our children are going to one day look back at these moments as ‘the good old days.’ Wow.

So, let’s do all we can to prepare them to succeed in the future, while not burdening them with unnecessary weights from the past. Please train your children for the world they will live in, not the one we want them to live in.

Do you agree, disagree? I’d welcome your feedback.

This article about how to train your children originally appeared here.

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Andrew is a husband, the father of four awesome kids, and a children's pastor at a thriving church. He is passionate about intentional parenting and helping other parents and leaders effectively reach the next generation. He blogs about kids and family at AndrewScottLinder.com, and provides proven resources for VBS and children's ministry at KidzBlast.com.