For nearly two months now, my husband and I have used a fitness app on our phones. We entered every meal, every snack and every intentional moment of exercise. The accountability has led to healthier food choices, increased energy and many pounds lost.
As a result, I have begun to wonder how to keep track of what goes into my kids each day. Tracking their eating is easy. More importantly, how can I track the things that help them to grow into the people they are meant to become?
Our children respond to a persistent Pied Piper call to pursue a life of consumerism, entertainment and fun. It is an easy path--crowded, and familiar to many. Commercials tell them materialism leads to a life well-lived, and television shows portray relationships full of drama. Movies and models teach our teens what to wear to appear like everyone else. Their friends no longer knock on the front door but text them about what games to play, what screens to watch, what fun they must seek to feel part of the group.
And with all those messages bombarding our children, what are we adding to their lives to strengthen them and to lead them into a holy life? How do we draw them away from the world and help them to hear God’s still, small voice?
Raising healthy children, who are growing in their faith, takes an accountability that far surpasses any app that we use today. And while we may pay attention to their nutrition and exercise, it is even more important that we create a plan that will meet their spiritual needs.
As parents, we must find a way to focus on a bigger picture of growth and development than what can be measured by a scale. It is not enough to feed them well. We must pour into them the Biblical truth of who they are and whose they are so that they will be awash in wisdom as they choose which path to take.
Raising our children to become authentic Christians is not a task to be undertaken on Sundays alone. In the same way that a diet and exercise plan will accomplish little if used only one day a week, teaching our children the way of faith cannot be limited to regular church attendance together. Psalm 1 reminds us of the value of daily faith
practice, “But whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do
Our children need to see us live a life that is daily marked by Christ. They need us to talk with them about our belief systems, to wrestle with them in times of doubt, to pray with them and for them about the monumental and mundane.
Our children need us to reflect the love and commitment we have received from Christ in the way we adore them every day. They need to hear our voices reading Scripture. And we need to consistently teach them not only right from wrong, but the role that grace plays in their lives and ours.
It is a lot to undertake. Our children will need all of this from us when they are 1 and 21. And while it may be easy to become overwhelmed, it is not God’s intention for us to feel adrift. In all those moments when we fear we have failed, when our example was askew, when our words were wounding, God can come alongside and correct our path.
As we draw near to Him and allow Him to lead us when we feel unsure, our faith will mature. When our lives are growing in faith, we show our children what God can do for us, for them, for the Kingdom unfolding.