I put together the video above following a YMCA Indian Guides/Adventure Guides weekend outing a few years ago. In the video, kids are being kids, and what is more kid-like than sleeping bag sledding down the stairs? One might ask, “Where were the mommies?” assuming justly that mommies would have more sense. Well, this was a daddies and sons weekend, so, no mommies, which explains the mischief–when unsupervised, men tend to revert to childhood [I’m obviously playing off stereotypes here.]. A group of kids sledding down hardwood stairs may sound reckless and injury prone, but look at their pure joy? When did we stop letting kids be kids?
For those who do not know me, I am the father of 5 rowdy and wonderful boys, ranging from preschool to high school. Raising them is both a blast and an unbelievable challenge, but what a wonderful blessing they are. One thing I have found useful in guiding them is to have a family motto. Ours is “Do everything, word and deed, for the glory of God.” This comes from Colossians 3, which is a fantastic chapter to discuss over and over with your children because it is chock-full of spiritual guidance that is relevant, relatable and transformative for children as well as for adults.
[W]hoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Parenting is one of the most treasured spiritual gifts God has given to me. And by “spiritual gifts” I do not mean the gift of parenting well. What I mean is that I learn so much about Christ by loving, serving and disciplining my children. We tend to have blind spots while navigating our own spiritual walks, but children have a way of shoving the Gospel right into our faces. What do I mean by that? Well, the parent and child relationship reflects the relationship between God and believers. We get a glimpse into the grace and love of God as our children disobey us, break commands, or show disrespect. The anger, frustration and hurt we feel as parents are only shadows of what God must feel when we do the same to Him but are enough to make us fall to our knees before God and thank Him for His service, sacrifice, love, grace and mercy. They are enough to lead us to Paul’s moment, where he exclaimed: “What a wretched man I am!” Romans 7:24.