It’s a bittersweet weekend around my house. The nest is about to be emptied (finally, lol), perhaps for good. As I think about the journey we have been on as parents, I praise God for my Bride, Peggy and the opportunity to raise our kids with her. As I think about our three adults kids, all married and two with kids of their own, I want to share four core values I believe every parent should pass along to their kids.
1. You are loved.
Kids need to know that they are loved. Period. Not because of what they can do, but because of who they are. Loving someone doesn’t mean you condone sin in their lives, but it doesn’t mean that you condemn them either. It is not your job as a parent to do either. It is your job to love them. Yes, you guide them. Yes, you instruct them. Yes, you discipline them. Yes, your correct them. You do it all in the name of love, and your kids need to know that you love them. Period. Will they disappoint you? Of course they will. Will they break your heart? Oh, yeah. Love them anyway.
Kids need to know that they are loved. Period. Not because of what they can do, but because of who they are.
Help them value love above all else so they can pass that love along to their kids. Also, this will set the stage for the other three core values that must be passed along. God loves them (John 3:16, 1 John 3:1), they must be shown that in no uncertain terms. As a parent, you must model that love for your kids.
2. You are to love God.
When Jesus was asked to sum up the law and the commandments, He replied: “Love the Lord your God with all you heart, all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Mt. 22:37) Loving God must be a value your kids grasp with no ifs, ands, or buts. It is the ONLY natural reaction to the love God pours out for us. Being part of a local body of believers (the church) is a way of life. It is not what we do, it is who we are.
Being part of a local body of believers (the church) is a way of life. It is not what we do, it is who we are.
If your kids don’t grasp that value, the loss is irreparable and eternal. Parents who say that they don’t want to “force” their kids to go to church are simply full of it. They are exhibiting that they are not committed to Christ’s Church themselves. We are part of the church, that is who we are. Our kids need to know that, believe that, and live that because we as parents model it.
3. You are to love people.
Continuing the thoughts of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 22, we are told in no uncertain terms that loving your neighbor as yourself is the 2nd greatest commandment from God. When asked about who your neighbor is, Jesus told those who were listening to this teaching what we now call the parable of the Good Samaritan. The point of that story is that EVERYONE is your neighbor. Even people you don’t agree with. Even people you don’t like. Even people you don’t get along with.
Love again, does not mean that we condone sin, but it does mean that we are for people.
The teachings of Jesus also remind us that we will be known as followers of His by the love we have for one another. (John 13:35) Love again, does not mean that we condone sin, but it does mean that we are for people. (I read a great book on that subject lately written by Vince Antonucci, called “God For The Rest of Us.” I suggest that you read it, too). You can’t truly love people if you are not doing life with them. Get your hands and feet dirty. Rub elbows with people. Show them love, don’t just say it.
4. You are to serve others.
In Matthew 20:28, Jesus says: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” If Jesus came to serve others, then those of us who love God and love people cannot help but serve others. Again, it is who we are. Service inside and outside the local church is just how we live. Not to be patted on the back, but to acknowledge what Paul sates in Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
We, the masterpieces of God’s creation, are designed to do good works to bring glory and honor to God. We, who are created anew in Christ Jesus, as designed to serve others not just to help them, but to help us be more like Christ.
We, the masterpieces of God’s creation, are designed to do good works to bring glory and honor to God.
Yes, these are the values Peggy and I have tried to pass along to our children and are trying to help pass along to our grandchildren. If our kids grasp these four core values, they will be the people God created them to be, and so will we.
It is not easy to let your kids go and grow, but that is what we must do. Letting go is made easier when you know that you have done the best job you could (although not perfectly by any stretch of the imagination) to teach your kids these core values.
This list is not meant to be all-inclusive, but simply a treatment of the core values for everyone to live out. What other values would you add to this list? Let’s continue the conversation. Please leave your comments below.