Life feels heavy lately. COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Political tensions are escalating in the US. Divisiveness and contention are everywhere. It feels like many of our freedoms are on shaky ground. Fear, anger, and intolerance for differing viewpoints are rampant.
Looking around at the dystopian world that has become our reality, I wonder If there is any rest for the weary. What will become of us? What will the world look like for our kids in the coming days? And how can we prepare them to greet it with faith and courage and strength?
Those are the questions that have been running through my mind lately.
I have always thought of myself as one who shrinks from confrontation. I hate contention. Divisiveness makes me want to retreat into a hole and never come out. I want everybody to get along. I long for unity more than just about anything else.
A couple of weeks ago, I took a free Enneagram test because I love that kind of stuff. The results showed that I was a type 9 – the peacemaker. This is the type that runs from confrontation and wants everybody to be happy. As I was thinking about my results in light of the current cultural and social climate in my corner of the world, something happened that caught me off-guard. I had a distinct impression that my Enneagram results were inaccurate. I felt to my core that hiding from conflict when the truth was on the line was in direct opposition to my true nature. I don’t know how to describe the experience other than to say that I got a tiny glimpse into the woman I was before I came to earth. I felt like that woman was calling me to remember. She was not timid or afraid of what her words might cause people to think about her. Rather, she was bold, courageous, and unapologetic when fighting for the cause of the truth.
For a few moments of pure inspiration, God showed me that He needs me to be who I really am underneath the muddy layers of mortality that have conditioned me to be guarded rather than fearless. It was profound, meaningful, and transformative on a level that I am not quite ready or able to articulate.
As I have pondered that experience and what it means for me, I have also thought about what it means for my kids and your kids. Do they know who they are and what they are here to do? Do they understand that they are courageous, determined, and strong? Do they realize that they are capable of being immovable in the face of growing darkness and fierce opposition? Do they know that standing up and standing out is what they were born to do?
Do they know?
It is HARD to teach those things when the winds of the world are reaching hurricane speeds. It is not easy or straightforward to convince our kids that they are more than meets the eye. More than the opinions of their peers. More than they can even imagine.
And yet, we must. They must catch the vision of who they are and what they are here to do. They must believe in their goodness, their strength, and their ability.
Bonnie H. Cordon recently said this:
Parents and leaders, let us trust our youth. Let us empower them to use the skills and gifts we know they possess! And let us mentor them by example. Our youth are champions in Christ. Let’s give them the confidence to know it.Bonnie H. Cordon
How do we do that?
First, we point them to Christ. We help them develop a relationship with Him. We teach them how to hear His voice and then, to courageously follow. We teach them who they are. We do this through word and action because actions almost always speak louder than words.
Then, we help them recognize their gifts and strengths. We give them opportunities to develop their talents and encourage them through the sticky spots as their confidence grows.
Then, we trust them enough to let them fly. To allow them to fall. To support them and help them learn from mistakes. We understand that they are greater than we can ever imagine but they need to learn that for themselves. And learning means doing. And learning means failing. And learning means knowing where to turn when things don’t go as planned.
Parents, we can do this. We must do this. It is our divinely-appointed mandate as fathers and mothers to prepare our children for all that lies ahead. If we have learned anything over the past few months, it is that the world will not glide smoothly towards the Second Coming. More storms await – storms that our kids will have to weather. And they can do it. Their spirits are strong. Within them lies the power to do all things the Lord needs them to do.
But they need to know that – to believe in themselves – to gain skills and confidence – to remember who they are. And we can help them with that.
Sheri Dew in a BYU Women’s Conference talk in May of 2001 said this:
Noble and great. Courageous and determined. Faithful and fearless. That is who you are, and that is who you have always been. Understanding that truth can change your life, because this knowledge carries a confidence that cannot be duplicated any other way.Sheri Dew
I testify of the truthfulness of her words, which have changed and continue to change my life. We have what it takes. Our kids have what it takes. And the Lord is counting on us both.
READY TO LISTEN?
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY:
- Episode 060: A Training Plan for Turning Kids into Responsible Adults
- Episode 043: How God Accomplishes His Work Through the Youth
- Episode 039: Preparing the Rising Generation to Change the World
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