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Straight Lines for Parents

Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.

Proverbs 4:10-12

It’s been a busy season of writing at Sonkist Ministries, and we’re happy to report that the parenting book many of you have been asking about is nearing completion. Actually, it was a conference in Texas that finally prompted us to get our manuscript off the back burner and prepare it for parents who, just like us, want to raise children of faith in the wild and wacky world in which we live.

So, Straight Lines for Parents: 9 Strategies for Raising Exceptional Kids details our three-decade personal and professional journey through the ups, downs, and sometimes sideways moments of parenting. We thank you for your patience – and most of all, for your prayers! Here is a portion of Chapter 2, It’s All About Faith, for you to enjoy:

Almost as soon as our oldest son began talking, we discovered that he often had some kind of question rolling around in his mind. In fact, the phrase “I have a question” has become a funny family memory – especially when he raised his toddler-sized index finger, tilted his head to one side, and uttered this familiar phrase. To be honest, there were some days when we had to say, “Okay Ryan, one more question and then we’re taking a break!”

Yet we also share with parents a profound question that came to us unexpectedly from Ryan’s inquisitive mind:

“Daddy, are you God?”

As you might imagine, the silence after that query was scintillating. We looked at one another and smiled, thinking simultaneously: If he only knew how wrong he was!

As humorous as it seemed to us, Ryan was quite serious. In his four-year-old mind, Dad must be like God. After all, he is big and powerful and knows a lot – just like the Lord we’d been teaching him about.

That’s when the critical message of that moment became crystal clear: our children learn as much about the Lord from watching us as they do from what we talk about or try to teach them!

Needless to say, as parents this was a WOW! moment. Neither of us would ever claim to resemble God, though we strive to live by His principles every day. And the Lord uses our role as “parent” to directly reflect Himself! Our children will get glimpses of God as they see us interact with one another, with them and with others in our world. They will come to understand what grace, forgiveness, patience, faith, and love are all about as they observe us putting these into practice.

After raising two children into adulthood, we’re here to tell you that the most significant aspect of life you can pass on to your children is faith. Faith is the foundation for everything that’s important – now and for all eternity. And when our kids have this eternal perspective, they will live in the present much differently than most of their peers. Why? Because our kids will understand that what they do today and tomorrow matters forever! Their faith will help guide them, correct them, and encourage them long after we have been called home to Heaven. Perhaps not too surprisingly, the parenting process can be one of the greatest tools God will use in our lives to bring us closer to Him too.

Many blessings to all of you from your fellow parents at Sonkist Ministries!

Thought of the Month

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6