Session 8 - Fresh Ideas on How to Really Love your Kids

Life can be tough for kids and they need our love more than ever when they are vulnerable. Grace based homes encourage and nurture that vulnerability with love. Because we love our kids—really love them—we’re always on the lookout for new ways to make their precious lives even better. Tim wrote a great little book called 50 Ways to Really Love Your Kids. You are probably already doing a lot of his suggestions but maybe you haven’t thought of some of them before or maybe you’ve had a tough time figuring out how to put them into practice. We are including a few excerpts from this helpful book to get you started.

For the other 47 ways to really love your kids, check out 50 Ways to Really Love Your Kids.

16 - Give Them a Love That Remains Calm While Their Faith is on Trial

Father and daughter, the Poconos, Christmas break, many years ago. The scene couldn’t have been more picturesque. The mood couldn’t have been more satisfying. We were driving parallel to a river through a tunnel of trees. The leftover autumn leaves whipped up behind us as we rode along in silence. I was contented with my world.

My daughter, Karis, broke the silence. “Daddy, what if it’s not true?”

I looked at her. “What if what’s not true, honey?”

“What if all the stuff about Jesus and the Bible isn’t true?”

All my internal alarms went off at once. The day suddenly turned cold. Every instinct pushed me to grab my Bible and do a full court press on her belief system. But this wasn’t the time or the place. A little girl was asking an honest question. She needed a response. . .not a reaction.

I pulled our car over to the side of the road and sat quietly for a moment, breathing a quick prayer, trying to determine the best way to approach her question.

She decided to elaborate. “What I mean is . . . well, I was wondering how we can know for certain if all of the stories about the Bible are true. But I’ve been worried that doubting is wrong.”

“No Karis, doubting isn’t wrong. It’s human. I’ve had doubts before. Lots of them. That’s why it all comes down to faith. God gives us enough evidence and enough information to make educated decisions. But He doesn’t fill in all of the blanks. He leaves just enough room for us to have to make a choice to trust. I’m not concerned that you might occasionally doubt. I’ll only be concerned if you let your doubts run your life.”

The life of faith isn’t a done deal just because our kids prayed a prayer one day. It’s a walk, a lifelong journey toward God. Our job of modeling it is never over. And as we live it out each day, we find that we, too, benefit from the promise: “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

17 - Give Them a Love That Encourages a Life of Adventure

A good childhood is meant to be lived large, loud, and loaded with reasonable risks. It’s a life of adventure that maximizes the potential God has placed in the hearts and minds of our children. Early days marked by mighty quests tap our children’s intellect, challenge their physical capabilities, temper their emotions, and galvanize their courage. And while we’re on the subject, children need to live a great spiritual adventure too— one that forces them to truly trust God and see with their own eyes just how big and wonderful He really is.

Here’s the problem. If parents were to lick their index fingers and hold them to the prevailing winds of popular opinion, they’d get the clear sense that their job is to raise safe kids.

What a shame.

Shame? What’s wrong with wanting to raise a safe kid? Simple. It’s often the very attitude that blocks us from raising a strong one.

A qualification is in order. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to know the who, what, where, why, how, and when of our children’s lives. There’s nothing wrong with restricting or even vetoing some of their ideas when it is obvious they are too naïve to see the threats that surround them. And let’s hear a round of applause for seatbelts, bike helmets, and kneepads. What I’ve just cataloged are items from the standard list of responsible parenting. To do less would be reckless.

But there is a force that pulls us toward protecting our children too much. It’s a force that unwittingly causes us to handicap their potential. That force is called fear. It’s too easy to let it define us. Fear–based parenting is good at producing safe kids. Unfortunately, it’s also good at producing wimps and spiritual pushovers. It leaves children weak, timid, and at the mercy of life.

There’s a balance between recklessness and fear. It’s called a life of adventure. It’s the best way to raise a strong kid. Oh, I forgot to mention something. When you raise a strong kid, you also get a safe one thrown in . . . free of charge.

Excerpts taken from 50 Ways To Really Love Your Kids by Dr. Tim Kimmel. © Copyright 2006 Family Matters® and Dr. Tim Kimmel