When I was a child, my father was a pediatric surgeon with his own private practice. I fondly remember countless afternoons spent at his office “helping” his nurses and office staff. Those early childhood experiences created a desire in me to become a nurse so I could help and heal people, too.
As I got older and grew in my relationship with Christ, my passion to “help and heal” remained but I began to realize that medicine was not the only way to make a difference. It became evident that, in addition to physical healing, people often needed spiritual healing. This was the catalyst for my passion to disciple, or mentor others in their faith. Today, in my role as a Spiritual Life Mentor at Hilton Head Christian Academy, I am blessed with the opportunity to disciple and mentor others.
Always looking for opportunities to grow, I recently read the book Growing Together by Melissa Kruger. It was presented as a helpful guide to mentoring relationships. I read it to strengthen my mentoring skills but I realized quickly that the principles in the book could be applied to parenting my children, as well.
So often, we think it’s enough to take our kids to church, enroll them in a Christian school, and read them a devotion from a book we bought. Unfortunately, what I am seeing from students I work with-and in my own children-is that all of these things are not enough.
Generally speaking, Christian parents understand the importance of godly parenting; however, many of us don’t understand exactly what that entails. Godly parenting means our kids are our primary disciples and it means we are the primary spiritual influence in their lives. What a humbling thought.
This caused me to wonder: when my children look at my life, do they see Christ in me? When I am annoyed with my child, do I respond in a way that points them back to Christ, or does the way I respond make them want to walk away from “my” faith? Am I truly the primary spiritual influence in their life? Does the way I live, talk, and act speak louder than the messages they see and hear every day at school, in their activities, and through media?
Kruger’s book does a thorough job of explaining what mentoring relationships are and why they are so important. The author goes on to give valuable practical advice on how to be a real mentor.
I often share that you should always have a Paul (someone mentoring you) and a Timothy (someone you are mentoring) in your life. As parents, our children are our Timothys.
Mentoring relationships come and go throughout our lives, but as parents, we never stop mentoring our children. It is never too late to start being intentional about how we are spending the precious time we have while our children are under our roof and in our care. Even if they are no longer under our roof, we can still have a significant impact on their spiritual life.
As you consider how to be more intentional in your parenting, ask your children who has the biggest spiritual influence on their lives and then evaluate what you can do to make sure one day the answer will be YOU!
Over the final weeks of the 2020/2021 school year, Life+ will offer discussion topics, advice and thoughts about parenting today’s children along with reviews of some of our favorite parenting resources. Stay tuned for these and build your own summer reading list!