Raising Kingdom Kids.
For some, it’s the latest buzzword in Christian parenting.
For our family, it’s just what we did.
As Christians, everything we do should be about God’s Kingdom.
As parents, everything we instill in our children should reflect God’s glory.
Even if one of them proclaims, “I am an atheist” at the dinner table.
I became acquainted with the term Kingdom Kids at a women’s conference I attended some years ago. The session was led by my friend Chrystal, who has parenting under her belt. In the session, she talked about the importance of listening to your children, especially as they become teens.
She then told us to find time in our busy parenting schedules to be able to sit and say nothing. No asking, no telling, nothing. Just giving them the venue to express the words etched on their hearts.
Here’s how one of our conversations went:
Mom, what’s an atheist?
An atheist is someone who does not believe in God.
Is it because they haven’t had that big God moment yet?
I’m not sure. There truly are God moments all day, every day, so I’m not really sure what kind of moment they are looking for. I’m here to tell you though, that no matter how small or big the situation, I personally don’t want to think that God is not there. That would be really bad.
What do you mean, really bad?
Bad things happen all day every day, but I need to know that I have God’s grace and protection through anything. There is just too much evil not to have God on your side. That’s just the way it is.
So are you saying that if I haven’t seen evidence of God’s work, then something really bad is going to happen to me?
What I am saying is if you are questioning God’s power, you need to do some research. You need to read the Bible, you need to journal your thoughts and questions. You. Need. To. Pray.
But what if I’m not sure who to pray to?
This conversation almost sent me over the edge as a parent. As long as I can remember, I have raised my children in Christian home. We’ve had family Bible study and devotional time. We know and understand the importance of Christmas and Easter. We pray together. We go to church. We volunteer with the church. We know who Jesus is. We talk about forgiveness and Christ’s love, and hope, and faith.
But even in my house…even in a house where we praise His name, there were still questions.
And this time, it seemed that no matter what my answer was, there were still more questions.
Before the night was over, I was a wreck. I honestly wish I could tell you that I was able to have this discussion without judgment or frustration. I wish I could tell you that I showed this child biblical scriptures and passages that lead to a total moment of clarity.
I can’t tell you that because it did not happen. What did happen was the fact that I lost it. Completely. And that conversation ended with one of my children spouting the words, “Then I am an atheist.”
The following moments were full of tears and uncertainty. I think I may have even rambled on about attacks of the enemy and how I’m not the one. I immediately sent a text message to two close friends explaining to them what happened and asking them to pray immediately. I think took a moment to pray myself.
And then, life happened. I had to clean up the kitchen I had to pay some bills online. I had to oversee homework activities. I had to be a mom.
A critically-wounded one at that.
My friends replied that they were praying. And one of them said, “Use this instance to teach about grace and mercy. You need to apologize for losing it.”
Oh my. I believe in God. I know His power. I’m not the one questioning his existence. And I need to apologize?
And then I heard God’s voice, rather clearly. Yes.
So that night after all of the routine activities, I went to that child and I apologized. I apologized for blowing my gasket and not listening and I apologized for shutting down the conversation without any solid suggestions or examples of God’s love.
By this point in our evening, the siblings were involved. And now they had questions. They didn’t express a need to understand God’s existence, they wanted to talk about the God moments they’ve had and how they could quench their thirst for more knowledge.
Thank you David C. Cook Devotional Series. The series is published by a non-profit organization of the same name that is dedicated to publishing and distributing leadership and discipleship resources to help Christians all over the world grow in their faith and pass it on to the next generation. Their children’s devotional series was exactly what I needed that night.
I know. My teenagers are not exactly children. But in this instance, we needed to have the most basic approach to understanding the Holy Trinity. And since I hadn’t given this trilogy of books to my niece yet, we used it.
After we grabbed our bibles and did a complete review of who exactly are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we dove right in with the devotionals. They were clear, concise, and easy to read. My children didn’t think they were too babyish, and my niece who is 8 and actually now owns the series, thought they were way cool.
In case you’re wondering, I did find the value in that discussion, and I’ve even made it a regular practice to listen to what’s on the heart of my kids.
Here’s what I’ve been told:
- Methodist churches have the best Communion crackers.
- The average 13-year-old boy is 4’11. They don’t really grow until they are 15.
- 12-year-olds should change their sleeping patterns so it’s not a shocker when they turn 13. Turning 13 is a lot like turning 40 because adequate rest is important.
- Talking about foundation garments in a store is so inappropriate. Even if it’s in the lingerie section. You should have the discretion to know what you need, buy it, and then take it home to talk about it.
- Having the appropriate lipgloss can make you or break you in life. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it has to be appropriate.
- There is a difference between lip balm and lip gloss. Everyone should know it. Even boys. They will need to know this for their wife.
- Divorce still hurts, even after several years. Even when you’re 18. Even when your parents still get along.
- Creating should be a way of life. For everyone.
- Making things with hands can be calming and soothing.
- and last but not least
- “Mom, you have high school hair. Just let us do it.
And the parenting saga continues.