What Impression Are You Giving Your Kids?

It’s etched in my memory. I went into my daughter’s bedroom planning to say ‘good night’ and share a prayer together. Instead, I found her sitting on the edge of her bed with pen and paper in hand. She announced to me, “I’m making a list of everything we have to do because daddy is a pastor. Can you help me think of things?” Oh my! I hid my surprise - and concern - and instead just said, “Well, what do you have so far?” 
  • We have to go to conferences.
  • We have to go to funerals and weddings.
  • We have to go to church every Sunday.

…and on the list continued.

As we worked through the different items of her concern, I told her that there might be a different perspective on things that she was missing. She was open to listen to my thoughts, so I continued.

Did you know that we don’t have to go to conferences because your daddy is a pastor? We actually go to conferences because mommy wants to be with daddy. Since it doesn't cost anything extra if all of us ride in the car together or stay in the motel room together, we only have to pay for the food us girls eat. Plus, when daddy doesn't have meetings, we get to see him, and sometimes we even get to play in the motel pool together! 

Did you know that we go to funerals because some of our friends have loved ones who have died, not because daddy is the pastor? We attend weddings because our friends invite us to share in their special day! Both funerals and weddings can sometimes be hard to sit through, especially when you girls don’t know the people very well, but I’ve seen you enjoying that yummy food that is served at the fellowship meal or at the wedding reception. Your favorite – wedding cake, right? Plus, you love that special pie that some of our church ladies always bring to the funeral meals!

And…

Did you know that if your daddy started working at a different job, and was no longer a pastor, that we would still go to church each Sunday? We go to church each week because we love Jesus, not because your daddy is a pastor. We want you girls to experience church and Sunday School together with us. It is a special time in our week, a time to see our friends and to learn more about Jesus.

So…

As we walked through my daughter’s list, I tried my best to be honest and yet positive about why we do what we do. She didn't necessarily embrace all my thoughts, but she did get a different perspective to consider other than what had been building in her mind. It was a good conversation. It was a timely conversation. I was grateful for the opportunity to try to dispel some of the bitterness that was starting to creep into my daughter’s heart. 

Satan was trying to steal my daughter’s joy. She loved being at church! All my girls did. For years it was their second home and was a safe place to visit. A happy place. A fun place. I didn’t want that to change, and I surely didn’t want my daughter’s relationship with her father – and the pastoral role – to get messy or ugly. Not this young, anyway. There is only so long that we can shelter our little ones from the harsh realities of ministry, but I knew enough about life and parenting that this was not the time to let those walls crumble. Instead, I needed to build up my daughter's spirit and confidence in the blessing of ministry.
  • Daddy helps people – when they are happy and when they are sad.
  • Daddy loves Jesus and loves to tell people about Him.
  • Daddy thinks it is great fun when we get to go with him to his meetings. He likes our company!
As parents, we have a responsibility to “impress” on our children truth. God's truth. We don’t need to sugar coat things, but we do need to be wise and discerning as we guide our children through the balancing act of serving our Savior and serving mankind. Let’s make sure we are doing our best to “impress” God’s love on our children while also developing a tender heart toward the hurting in our world. You and I have a tremendous opportunity to pray for, encourage and direct our children each and every day of their lives – whether they are still at home or off on their own. Loving words, thoughtful guidance and faithful prayers will help each of us to live out the command to…

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.Deuteronomy 6:5-7

Let's press on with a lasting, positive and God-honoring impression!


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