Raising Kids…. Counter Culturally
When the Lord said to be fruitful and multiply, hubby love and I took that seriously! Yet, we also see how easy it is to get caught up in raising these blessings according to the culture we live in and not according to the same Word that inspired us to have them in the first place.
When our kids were younger, like all parents, we had many dreams and aspirations for their lives. Our oldest daughter naturally chose dance, taking after me and our oldest son naturally chose football taking after hubby love. We dreamed that they would attend private elementary and excel in high school academics or sports, whichever came easier! They would go to college or pick a trade and go on to be successful and have a happy life with their spouse and children. We've had many more children and many more dreams and aspirations since then. It’s the ‘achieve and live your best life’ mentality. It is the ‘American dream’. It is the right way to dream and culturally the right way to push our children towards, yes? NO!!
There are so many problems when raising kids according to these flawed cultural standards. Starting with a false reality of what life is supposed to be. Solomon calls it vanity and toil. He says that eventually this type of life comes to nothing.
4 ways to raise your kiddos counter culturally…
1. Success and careers should not be the priority of the believer, Jesus is the number ONE priority. Matthew 6:33. This is the point that hubby love was most passionate about. He said that the most counter cultural thing that you can do in this world is to raise our kids with a knowledge that Christ is King. King of our lives, dreams, and goals. Because He Is King, He needs to also be priority over our lives, dreams, and goals. Sometimes, we can get so hung up on what we think that those things should be for our kiddos, that we forget to show them that nothing is even possible unless we seek Him first. Now, don’t get me wrong, you can absolutely have worldly success without Christ, but, what our 9-year-old reminds us, is that ‘they have their reward’. (Matthew 6:2-4) You see, if we lead our kiddos to seek anything else as a priority over Christ, whatever they seek here and receive, will be their reward. That’s horrible! There is nothing in this world that can satisfy what’s missing in the life of any human, beside Christ. We are essentially setting them up for eternal damnation if we don’t push the point that Jesus should be their number One Priority!
2. It’s not about our dream for our kids, but the Fathers plan for them. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” This was not only for Jeremiah, but this, I believe is for all of God’s children. He has plans to give us a hope and a future. And no, everybody’s hope and future is not a mansion, nice cars, lots of money, perfect health, a perfect marriage, and the best behaving kids. Matter of fact, I don’t think this is anybody’s future who is actually a follower of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9) So, since it’s not about our dreams for our kids but is about His plans for them, we need to really focus on leading them to the only One who can and will lead them down the perfect path for their lives.
With that, we trust and know that God’s plan is perfect. Perfect! There is nothing flawed about His plans. If he calls them to become a doctor in a third world country, that’s God’s perfect plan for them. If he has it for our kids to be a janitor at a local high school, that is not a punishment it’s His perfect plan. If He calls them to be a missionary in a part of the country where their lives are in danger every day, that’s His perfect plan. If He calls our sons to work a 9 to 5 to provide a humble life for his family or our daughters to stay home and take care of her husband, children, and home, that is God’s perfect plan for their lives.
God’s plans are greater than our biggest dreams could ever be for our children
3. Although we live in this world, we aren’t to be of it. John 15:19 "...but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world..."
This world has a culture and it’s the have and have nots. The ‘haves’ go to college or start a business and live a worldly life of success. Hard to swallow when I say ‘worldly life of success’? I'm sorry, but it is! Nowhere in the bible do we see or are we commanded to go to college or told to demand our children to go in order to be successful in this life. Yet, we believe the lie that they can’t get good jobs or have an ok life without that good ole piece of paper. Then you have the ‘have nots’. The ones who aren’t privileged to go to college or get a ‘good job’ and then envy those who are the ‘haves’. I mean, media does a great job reminding the 'have nots' that they, well, have not. Commercials, TV shows, movies, reality shows… “Look at me I have, and you don’t”!
Yet, the word tells us not to be of this world. So why push our kiddos to want and chase the things of this world. ( 1 John 2: 15-17)
When the only thing in the believer that is different than the world are the words that you say, like… “Look at what God has done for me!” or “ Look at how the Lord reigns down blessings on the just” Hellooo!!! Is it really blessings on the just when you teach your child to work their fingers to the bone in order to get or achieve it? Also, why then do the ‘unjust’ have the same things the just are praying, trusting, and believing God for? Listen, God doesn’t need our ‘hard work’ to rain blessings of worldly wealth down on us. If God wanted us to have worldly wealth, he could simply give it to us. Remember Solomon, he prayed for wisdom, God gave him that plus wealth, and more wealth than anyone before him or after him have ever had. And what did he say to that? "Vanity, it's all vanity" Then there’s the 'God doesn’t help those who don’t help themselves' saying, or the 'closed mouths don’t get fed' saying, or my favorite, 'God will do exceedingly abundantly above anything we can ask or think.' Yes, but not to many parents are teaching their kiddos to ask for more faith, more grace, more love, more humility, more patience, more contentment, or to be more like JESUS! Isn't HE what our whole existence is about??? To live is CHRIST!
The culture of this world is discontent and when we push our kids down the paths of desiring to be a part of the haves club, and looking down on the have nots( really hoping that they never have to be in ‘their’ position), you are pushing them to be of this world, not just to live in it, for Christ, until they go to be with their Savior. Which is very important in the last days. If our kids are focused on being part of this world, they will be hard pressed to stand ,alone, for Jesus when everyone around them is running towards destruction, because they couldn't bear giving up the things here.
4. The Great Commission is what Jesus commanded for us to do. Matthew 28: 18-20
At the end of the day, it is so counter cultural to speak boldly about Christ. Yes, we pray in public. We put scriptures on our shopping bags, and the bottom of our burger boxes. We have Not of This World on our cars and crosses on our business cards. However, there are few who make the gospel the topic of most of our daily conversations.
This is what we are supposed to be pushing our children towards. They should know that being bold for Christ is more than wearing a Christian t ’shirt and having theological conversation with those who are already believers. Yes, those things have their place in the life of a believer, absolutely. That just should not be what we or our children think is fulfilling our responsibility in the great commission, because it doesn’t. The gospel: the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ is the most important conversation that we can have with unbelievers. This is the path we need to push our children towards, as a way to raise them counter culturally.
It is difficult to find the thin line, or to stay on the right side of that line. Lines get blurry when we have so many dark forces pulling and tugging us to look like the world, yet fooling us to think that the worldly ‘godly’ way we’ve prescribed to is different than the worlds way. The way that we stay on the right side of the thin line, is the Word. We take our cue from the greats of the bible, from the commandments of scripture. Read the red letters, and Christ Himself will show you exactly how to raise your kids…. Counter Culturally!
Be Faithful, Be Free