You know, one of the things I was scared about when we were pregnant with Harper was the daunting task of teaching him all the things he needs to know as he grows up and the huge responsibility that teaching another person is. His entire world view and his experiences depend (at first) in large part based on how we expose him to and teach him new ideas. But I've changed my mind about that. Now, the teaching part of being a parent is the part that excites me the most.
Proverbs 22:6 says: "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."
Our biggest charge as parents, but also our biggest opportunity is to be able to teach our kids. We have the opportunity to teach them God's love in a real and tangible way, teach them how to learn, teach them to listen (to others, but ultimately to the Holy Spirit), teach them humility, teach them honesty, and on and on and on. And the ultimate opportunity is to be able to teach them better than we were taught as kids. I mean, that is the point isn't it?? For each generation to learn from the previous one and not to repeat their mistakes or the let their ignorance remain??
I have a great family history. I was adopted as an infant and grew up in a christian home. Every time the doors of the church were open we were there as kids all growing up. I love the chances we had as kids to see God in action and to hear the word. Yeah, no matter what happened to us, we heard the word of God on a daily basis and that (since the Word of God is living and breathing) was the most important thing. But as good as it was, our parents were just doing a little bit better than their parents before them. No one is perfect, but there are things I want to teach Harper that I wish I had been taught.
The first thing I want Harper to experience and to learn, by my words and seeing it backed up by my actions is unconditional love. I want him to learn that my love is not contingent on him being an all-american at anything, or winning the state championships 3 years in a row, or making it to the regional or state competition in literary events, or making the game-winning free-throw. My love for him is based on the fact that he is my son, that is it, and that is enough. And because he is my son, my flesh and blood (remember the blood covenant feltsdia??) that binds me to him forever and nothing could get in the way of my love and pride for him.
The second thing I want him to learn from Cindy and I is unconditional love for others. I want him to understand that just because someone else is any different than he is: different color of their skin, drive a different car, go to a different church, dress in different clothes, speak a different language, have a different opinion than him, that that doesn't make him better or worse than them....just different, and that is perfectly fine!! I want him to love people because Christ loved every person he ever met, Satan included! When Jesus was asked by the Sadducees which of the commandments was the greatest he said: "The most important one is this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:29-31) Isn't it interesting that God's two favorite commandments have to do with love for Him, and then love for others?!? Where in that verse does it say to "Love others as yourself, as long as they look like you.", or "Love others as yourself, as long as they have money.", or "Love others as yourself as long as they think like you." IT DOESN'T!!! I want Harper to show God's love to other people freely, no matter who they are!!
The last thing (for this post anyway) I'm excited to teach him is proper stewardship and respect for money. I want him to know that his identity is in Jesus, NOT in how much money is in his bank account, or how expensive his clothes are, or what car he drives. I want to teach him that money never fixes money problems, and what's the point of having money if you can't share it with people who need it??? I want him to understand that the role of money is to allow you the opportunity to spread the gospel to those who are less fortunate. All money is the Lord's and is a blessing, but is also a huge responsibility to take care of it correctly. I want him to learn how to do that early. It took me well into college doing my own studying to really understand how God felt about money and I've made plenty of mistakes along that road that I want to keep him from.
This post is kind of lengthy, I know, but God started showing me areas I was going to be able to fill in the gaps for Harper that I had to fill in myself so I wanted to share. I've got other lessons in my head He's lining up for me to teach Harper, but I'll share those later.
Everyone makes mistakes, and there are no perfect parents....but our children are too important to not give them our best.