In Part 1 of this series, I introduced my heart to see children raised up to become passionate children with hearts after God and take the world for Jesus and His Kingdom. I believe in that these times God is not going to wait until they are adults before He equips them, but we will see children ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit at all ages.

I also talked about the first ‘gift’, the gift of faith. Part 2 continues with these gifts.

The Gift of Cherished Memories.

We live in extremely busy times and balancing our lives has become a great challenge. So how in the midst of life’s pressure do we give our children the gift of cherished memories? There are those times when things just happen and children will treasure the moment forever, but if we choose to be intentional, giving time and creativity, there is a far greater chance that our children will have more of those moments.

If children get something all the time it’s not treasured.  For example, if a child gets treats and candy every day, it’s not special and becomes something the child feels entitled to. However, if a child gets candy or a cookie once a week and daddy brings it home, it can become a cherished memory, especially if dad does this in a fun way.

Taking time to do fun things as a family is key. TV is not really something a family does together; they might be watching together, but it is not interactive. But once in a while, when the weather is poor, a family movie night can be made into a great event.  Personally I prefer more active things: building a fort, dancing as a family, having a games evening, hide and seek as a family, hair makeover with kids doing the parents hair (gel and glitter add great fun) are all fun and active ideas. There are so many indoor activities that can take no more than half an hour, but they create wonderful memories. However to me outdoors is always preferred and there is so much a family can do outdoors. Picnics and playing in the park, camp outs in the yard, sports, hikes, treasure hunts, etc. There is much talk today on ‘earthing or grounding which speaks simply of the benefits of people being outside barefoot… The fact that this has become something talked about, whether correct or not,  reflects the poor state of a society that seldom ventures outside. Nature walks and hikes are both educational and fun and can give your children a love for God’s amazing creation. Just think of all the beauty and the animals that God created for us. Let us take time to teach our children to love and appreciate this amazing gift from God.

Vacations are simply one of the best ways to create memories. Why? Time is given exclusively to the family for an extended period. Parents can put so much into a vacation. Each family is different (and that’s the way it should be) but how we see vacations will determine what we get out of them. If we simply want to get away and do nothing to relax, we will not create memories for our children. But if the purpose is to really build into the life of the family, we will have fun, and make memories. It is still more relaxing than being at home as the pressures of day to day life and work are not in our face. No matter how you as family likes to vacation, take time to do fun things each day. When our children we growing up we would try each day to spend some time with the Lord, have at least one outdoor activities which usually lasted for hours (winter or summer) and then at night play games. Our children treasured their vacations and because we lived such busy lives, those times of focusing only on our family created memories which gave security and really made them feel loved.

The Gift of Character.

As parents, let us endeavor to build good character into the lives of our children. Honesty, integrity, and consideration are but a few. Again let us be intentional in doing this. For example, simple manners teaches an aspect of consideration for others. Let us teach our children to greet people they know (including adults) without being prompted. Let us teach them to give their seat up for someone older than them and why they need to do that. Let us teach them to say please and thank you. Teach them how to host people even from a young age. Consider some key characteristics you want your child to have then build it into them. You can use life’s lessons, mistakes, stories, teachings, observations and more. Galatians 5:22 – 23 teaches us about the fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” What a great place to start.

Teaching our children to do their chores, be responsible, to serve others and to be diligent and hard working are some simple foundations.  1 Timothy 3 gives qualification for elders and deacons. These do not apply only to them, but to every Christian. We need to teach them to our children and rain them up to walk in them. Remember, training takes time and skill.

The Gift of Joy.

It is said that in the first two years of a child’s life, the desire to experience joy in loving relationship is the most powerful force in life. The book, ‘The Life Model – Living From The Heart Jesus Gave You’, says, “We now know that a ‘joy center’ exists in the right orbital prefrontal cortex of the brain. It has executive control over the entire emotional system. When the joy center has been sufficiently developed, it regulates emotions, pain control, and immunity centers; it guides us to act like ourselves; it releases neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin; and it is the only part of the brain that overrides the main drive centers—food and sexual impulses, terror, and rage… It is the one section of the brain that retain the ability to grow for our entire lives”

The brain can build ‘joy strength’ and as parents we want to help our children develop their joy strength. I love how God speaks in Nehemiah 8:10 and tells us that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” God not only helps us walk in joy but He has created the ‘joy center’ within us. The book goes on to say, “Being human and wanting joy are inseparable. We are creatures of joy. At its essence, joy is relational.   Our creator made us with brains that want to operate with joy in charge, and our lives want to be filled with relationships that lead us to joy.

There is also a connection between security, love and joy “This joyful identity region of our brain is also the bonding region. The strength and security these bonds develop is based on the amount of timing of joy an infant receives.”

A simple smile gives your child joy. Creating good memories, a hug, showing love, having fun. If we desire our children to be strong in the Lord, it is essential that we help them develop their ‘joy centers’.

The Gift of other People.

As parents, if we think we have it all and it is our way or the highway, our children will sadly lack. If I gave my daughter everything I have and am but did not teach her to learn from others, then the most she can ever be is where I am. But God has given her different gifts and His call on her life is different to mine. How short will she fall from God’s destiny for her if I don’t allow her to learn from others. I look back over the years and am so very grateful to the many people God brought into our lives to help us with our children. My father gave my children the love of music, the joy of work, the love of learning. My mother gave them a heart to be tender with people and desire to understand them; to simply enjoy people. She gave them a heart to pray. A young man at church gave Clayton the road back to Jesus. A carpenter in the church gave Clayton some basic woodwork knowledge and the love he has for working with his hands. A coach at school, taught our children much about team. A friend gave Natasha cooking lessons. A teacher gave Chantelle her love for English. Visiting preachers taught our children that there is a world out there that needs Jesus. They were given a global vision and a Kingdom heart.

There are so many areas to cover that it’s not possible in a blog, but there are a couple more ‘gifts’ I would like to share. Part 3 will follow.