photo courtesy of Mel
Old Testament- Lesson 19
Remember how the people of Israel kept forgetting the AMAZING things the Lord did for them while they were wandering through the wilderness? Remember how the Lord made them wander for 40 years in hopes that they would remember? Well, based on the children of Israel, they didn’t ever really remember.
The children of Israel fell into apostasy repeatedly. They not only forgot but strayed. Of course there were some that were strong and kept the faith.
Keeping the faith requires work. It requires support. It requires reminders.
There are 4 resources to help us from following in the path of the children of Israel.
Faith in God
As a child, parent, friend and believer in God who has made covenants, I hope I can provide the resources necessary to those I am responsible for as well as find the support from those around me.
Parenting is so much more than raising children in a safe and happy environment. As a working mom, I struggle with having someone else “care for” my children while I am at work. I have to remind myself that they are in no way being parented by their caregiver- because parenting is so much more. While I am at work, the girls are kept safe. They are fed. There is entertainment. That is not parenting.
Parents provide the unconditional love that no one else can. As parents we teach our children about values, morals, faith, priorities, beliefs, trials, temptations, overcoming difficulties, relationships and so much more. What a parent is responsible for teaching their child is what will mold that child into a strong adult.
I think it is easy to get stuck in the “care-giver” role even as a parent. Sometimes we get stuck in the teacher role as well and focus on reading and arithmetic. Which both roles are crucial to a child’s success in life. But neither of those roles will keep our children from falling into the cycle of apostasy.
Righteous Friends: (the above picture shows some guys that probably don’t fit into that category – unless my goal is to become a TAPOUT babe (which is not going to get a link because it doesn’t really add to this post)).
Who our children pick as friends will determine what they are surrounded by. The language that is used with their friends will alter the way our children speak. If their friends respect adults and authority, it is more likely that our children will as well. Good friends are crucial to staying on the path to righteousness and happiness.
Even as an adult, who my friends are determines what type of person I am. For example, if I am choosing to surround myself with friends that throw the f-word around freely, I notice that I tend to cuss more frequently. If my friends are downers, I’m more likely to get in a rut. The flip side of that is also true. When I am surrounding myself with friends that are positive and full of energy, it rubs off on me and I tend to be much happier too.
If we want our children to be strong in what they are raised to believe, we need to help them find friends that bring out the best in them.
Faith in God:
Having served a mission in the former Soviet Union, not long after the fall of the war, I really learned to understand what it means to NOT have a faith in God. I saw how forgetting and being told there is no God can tear down the light from within each of us. I saw how it can make you bitter and angry. On the flip side, I also so that spark of light grow when someone knelt in prayer and asked if there really is a God to hear their prayer.
I am not saying that everyone needs to have a cookie cutter believe in God. Every single one of us needs to find and build our own personal faith. We have to help our children find that faith for themselves as well. But that faith in God requires work on our part to keep alive. if we neglect our faith, that light I spoke of will dim and eventually go away.
As a member of my church, I have entered into sacred covenants. As a wife, I have also entered into sacred covenants. These covenants serve as reminders of what I need to work on. Each of us need to look at our covenants and how they can help us and our children be strong and not fall into the cycle of Apostasy that the children of Israel did.
As much as these four topics can prepare our children to make the right choices, and as much as they may help us be prepared to make choices, in the end we do have the right to choose. We have the right to pick friends that may make the other choice look more appealing. God has given us a choice, and we can only prepare so much.
When you think about what you want for your children, what are you doing to help them make the right choices?