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September, 2013 - Issue #107
Courtesy of Shutterstock
Courtesy of Shutterstock

Parenting: The Most Important Job in the World?
by Michelle Wash

As parents, we have the unique opportunity to shape the character of another person. We all want our kids to grow and develop into adults with a strong moral compass and the ability to make wise choices on their own. In fact, being a parent may be the most important job in the world! While there is no definitive "How To" manual, here are three ways to help set your child up for success in life.

First, start young by giving your kids the opportunity to make choices of their own. As preschoolers, give them the choice of what to wear, or a choice of two different activities. As they grow older, you can help them choose how to respond to peer pressure, or how to handle the temptation of cheating on a test. By providing a safe place for kids to learn how to make wise choices, you are setting the stage for them to be confident in making their own choices when they are away from you.

Next, model wise choices at home - remember that what you do speaks louder than what you say. Your kids are watching you at all times, so use that to your advantage by letting them see you make wise decisions. And don't be afraid to talk through the consequences of some unhealthy choices you may have made so they can benefit from your mistakes.

Finally, the Bible has much to say about making wise choices. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6) At Real Life Church, we provide fun, engaging, age-appropriate ministries from Nursery to age 5 from the Bible into practical applications for everyday life. Separate programs are available for junior high, high school and college students to help your kids learn how to make wise choices throughout those difficult teenage years and into adulthood.

Michelle Wash is the children's pastor at Real Life Church. 775-2041

Guiding our Children to make Good Choices
by John Shaver

Making choices is always going to be a part of life. Learning how to make good ones early on is vital for our children. I see this as a dad to a 4 and 7 year old, as an AYSO coach, as pastor at Valencia United Methodist Church and as a board member to non-profits assisting children in need.

As parents, we know that our children are bombarded with choices every day. The choices they face get more difficult as they get older, ranging from "What will I wear today?" to "Will this 'little' lie really hurt anyone?"

A first step for parents to teach kids to make good choices is to establish a set of core values for your family and hold to them. For many parents, modeling honesty, responsibility and respect begins this important journey. Taking time to eat together as a family and talking about those values continues the process. Then follow the old adage: practice what you preach. When parents establish and live by a set of values, children will make those a part of their decision making process, even when you're not present.

Parents need to provide a balance to outside influences. Social media, advertisements, friends and society all have an impact on the choices they make.

I want my daughters to learn to make good decisions through teamwork in sports and academics. But I see a greater need in nurturing their souls for the major decisions in life. Surround your children with groups, adults and mentors that share similar values. For example, at VUMC we have numerous ways in which we "do life" together as a church family. Doing life within a church family is one more way you surround your children with teachers and mentors who will be a positive influence and help them make good decisions... even when you're not around. 255-1301
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