In Part 3 of our series on Stewarding The Gift of Children, we’ll continue to touch on some of the wonderful ‘gifts’ we can give to our children, helping to raise them to become those that change the world for God’s Kingdom…

The Gift of Gratitude.

In most first world countries, we lives in times where people are becoming more entitled in their thinking. Yes, we do have rights and we are entitled to a great deal of things, but the attitude of entitlement isn’t one that is endearing to others. Worse still, is that this attitude is the opposite of what we learn in the Word of God.

Teaching our children simple manners goes a long way. Holding back on giving them too much of what they want, so they can become grateful for the small things in life, can help.  Children are not born with wonderful attitudes of gratitude and thankfulness that is expressed on a regular basis. Yet there are children like this because they have been taught to be this way. It takes time to teach them,

but with consistency, it takes root. We need to actually teach and explain in a way that each child understands. Depending on their temperament, we might change the way we teach. Gratitude opens the door to so much in life.  It is the start to teaching them to honor people.  We know that honor is the vehicle of inheritance and we all desire the best for our children. Therefore, it behooves us to teach them gratitude.

The Gift of Prayer.

One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to pray for them and teach them how to pray. Pray blessing over them daily. Pray as the Holy Spirit leads us to pray. Pray into their character, or lack thereof, and the Holy Spirit will lead us and teach us how to pray specifically into that area. He will also equip us with the skills needed for each situation. I remember when Natasha, our daughter, first came into our lives as a 12 year old, she would shower for extremely long times. In fact, everything to do with timing was really hard for her. I prayed so much into this and one day the Lord spoke clearly to me. He explained that most children, when they are babies to toddlers, get taught a routine. They might get fed meals at basically the same time daily, they might get bathed each evening and then go to bed at more or less the same time each night. This simple routine would establish timing in them.  Natasha did not have that.  Once I understood that, the Lord explained to me that timing has been internalized in most people to some degree by the time they are adults.  Ken, for example, can give you the time of day within 15 minutes of accuracy at almost any given time. I, on the other hand, get lost in time and need to rely on alarms, timers etc.  But if you asked me to have a quick shower, I know what that means. Natasha didn’t because no timing had been internalized within her. I had to teach her to rely on alarms and timers for the smallest things. Today, while Natasha is still the arty person she is and therefore can get lost in time, she is seldom late for anything. She has learnt that it is disrespectful to other people to be late. She now understands time. The Lord not only helped me understand her, but gave me the tools to train her. All of this was in answer to prayer.

The Gift of Love.

We cannot love our children too much. Yes, we can pamper them too much, we can spoil them too much; we can do many of those things in the name of love, but in truth, we cannot love them too much. To love our children unconditionally is to bless them with a solid foundation in their life. To love our children means giving them time, training them up in the way they should go, being there for them, enjoying them and letting them know we enjoy them. It gives them a healthy identity, security, purpose, confidence to face life and so much more. The feeling of our love them is not always enough, we need to express it to them.  Obviously, this is done in many ways and received in many different ways.  Take time to find how your child receives love and give then the gift of love in the way they can receive it. I remember with such appreciation asking my mom why her and my dad no longer had parties on a Friday night, as it was something they had done for years.  Their ‘parties’ were just a small group of friends that would come over each week and dance the night away. Later on, some of the time, they would end up playing music as my dad played the piano and his friends the drums and other instruments.  We would all sit around singing. These were very fond memories for me, so I wondered why they had stopped. My mom simply replied, “Now that you and your brother are older (my brother was in his teens) and like to have your friends come over, we decided it was time to stop our parties and have fun with you and your friends.” Even as a pre-teen, I knew the cost and my heart exploded with gratitude and a deep knowing of how much our parents loved us.

The Gift of Living for Jesus.

This is no easy task and we have learnt more from doing things incorrectly, but along the way, if we as parents are passionate about Jesus, the children will catch know our hearts for Jesus at the very least.

I would encourage all parents not to be legalistic and do ‘Christian’ things for the sake of being religious. Our children see right through this. However, we should let them see us praying. Let them see the tears as we worship. Let them find us reading the Word of God. Let us take them to church and engage in the service, even when it is difficult with toddlers. Let them see us really worshiping, connecting with God’s people etc. Let them see daddy and mommy praying together. Let them feel that peace that passes all understanding when things are hard, but we have taken it to the Lord. When we pray together, we can ask them if Jesus has spoken to them. If we keep Jesus as the center focus of our lives in a real way, our children will catch that. If we live our lives around Jesus, our King and His Kingdom, they will catch that. But if we live our lives around our children, they will catch that. If we live our lives around our jobs, they will catch that. Our children, jobs, family etc. are all very important but Jesus and His Kingdom should always be our center, the place from where we live our lives. It is in Jesus that we live, and move, and have our being. Living from that place, from the perspective of His Kingdom, even with all our failures, is the life our children will desire. They might run for a time, but they will come back.

May we see this next generation rise up in an unprecedented way, living their lives for Jesus, overflowing with His gifts, His grace and kindness, His power and most of all, His love.