Guess what? This life ISN'T ABOUT ME. It's about us learning to live like Jesus so that I can help to usher in His return. It's about me giving up my own wants, wills, and desires, that I might truly follow His wants, wills, and desires for our lives.
What about my kids? God's surely concerned about the happiness of my children, right? Nope. God wants us to teach our kids that IT'S NOT ABOUT THEM.
As a parent, I am often devastated when one of my kids is hurt. I want to do everything in my power to help them through the hurt. In fact, I often want to so badly that I am often willing to bail them out.
As parents, we’ve taught our kids to think more in terms of happiness and the immediate gratification of our desires. We've taught our kids that we will run at all hours, at all costs, and with little regard to longterm impact in order to see them succeed. What if we could, instead, model for them that IT'S NOT ABOUT THEM.
If each of us was to truly understand that this life is NOT ABOUT US, what would it change? It would change the way we interact with our spouses, it would change the way we parent, it would change the way we approach a stranger. It would change everything.
What if the one thing we could teach our kids before they leave home that their life is not their own? That IT'S NOT ABOUT THEM?
Here are some ways to help your kids understand that IT'S NOT ABOUT THEM:
1. Language: How you talk about this at home matters. The problem in our society is that most parents do make home ALL ABOUT THE KIDS. Again, God is not interested in your (child's) happiness, only his holiness.
Make sure kids understand that, if they walk with Jesus, their life is not their own. Instead of asking “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Ask, “What do you think God would have you to do with your future?” When we yield to God’s control in our lives, we allow Him to direct our paths. “What if God asked you to remain single?” or “What if God wants to use you overseas?” are all questions that cause us to know our life really is not our own.
2. Teach them that they are a part of the big picture. Many times we are content to teach our kids Bible stories as stand alone stories that we never connect. Work hard to help your kids understand that God had a plan from the beginning and that each of us has a role to play in that plan. When we have a role to play we are called to live life in the scheme of that roll, as opposed to any given moment. It's not about me. It's about the larger role I've been called to play. I give up my right to choose my own role.
3. Demonstrate it: no amount of talk or lecture will ever demonstrate for your kids what a life devoted to God’s direction looks like better than your own example. Talk to them about why you do what you do. Explain why you make the decisions to spend your time or your money the way you do. You will teach far more by living it than you ever will by talking about it.
I believe this one thing could be a game changer. If we could learn to truly live as though life is NOT ABOUT US, we would be free to do all that God has called us, as Christians to do.
Our kids are, by their very nature, selfish. We can't get them to behave like this overnight, but rather, this must be a longterm goal. If my kids are able to embrace this fact by the time they leave home, I've done my job.
I want them to know IT'S NOT ABOUT ME. IT'S NOT ABOUT THEM.
How about you? What do you see as one lesson your kids need to learn that would change everything?
Related: Do we REALLY want what's best for our kids?