I don't know how it is with you, but all of my life I've had a plethora of seemingly archaic voices telling me that time slips by more quickly the older we get. I think Five for Fighting got it right in his song "100 Years" Every time I watch that video I'm reminded of how our perspective changes as we enter new phases of life. In a couple of weeks our oldest son, Gabe, will graduate from high school, and both we and he will begin new phases in our lives.
As a Christ following parent you pray that your children will develop their own faith and choose to follow Jesus by their own volition, and that you as the parent have guided them to that point. It's at junctures like this when we have the opportunity to review how we've scored as a parent, good or bad. What values did I stress? Was I too strict or too lenient? Did I overcompensate for what I viewed as my parents failures?
Ultimately only time will give us the answers to these questions. But when I compare my first 18 years to my son's, I think he's got a pretty cool future ahead of him. Laura and I never really pushed our kids like society seems to think is the norm, whether it be academics or athletics. Spiritual life was the center of family life 50 years ago. But now it seems that everything else has encroached on that lifestyle.
I am so thankful for the Godly mentors that changed the course of my life and ultimately the lives of my family. And to all that choose to read this, I pray that you will evaluate those values that you are presenting to your children. I caution you that what you're saying doesn't count. Your actions speak so loud they can't hear what you are saying. Good grades, good manners, hard work and discipline are all great concepts to place before you're child. But compare the words that the Apostle Paul offered to the Colossians in Chapter 3, verses 12-15:
"Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful."
I would suggest that, if by age 18, you have conveyed Paul's words to your children, while also attempting to live out these principles, you won't have a lot to be concerned about regarding their future. Fortunately, Gabe has embraced the Christ centered life, and in the process, found a beautiful young lady who is doing the same. I don't know what the Lord has in store for them, but I know they both have been taught to seek God first: not money, not education, not the shiny things of this world.
I am confident the Lord's richest blessings will await each of them as they find His plan and purpose for each of their lives.
And so, in conclusion, parents, maybe you've done a bang up job parenting to this point. If so, give yourself a high five and a pat on the back. Maybe you have completely blown it to this point. Looking back I realize how many mistakes and bad decisions I made. I'm embarrassed by my incompetence and ignorance as a parent on so many occasions. But I want to encourage each of you that God's mercies are new every morning! Tomorrow is a new day! You can learn from past mistakes, but don't dwell on them. Joshua told the Israelite's that they would have to choose whom they would serve. Make this your declaration starting tomorrow and live it out : As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD!