Enhance, Advance, Romance

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works”

Hebrews 10:24  

They say the best way to get your kids to go in the direction you want them to go in life is to lead the the way by going there first. Maybe that’s because we tend to learn more by what we see than any other form of education. It’s like the old medical school philosophy of, “watch one, do one, teach one.” It’s where the term “hands on training" comes from.  One thing is certain, the complexities of parenting are growing exponentially with each passing year. Especially for Christian parents who seek to live uncompromising lives and who are raising their children to honor the Lord with their lives.    

Life is no longer just a battle of good verses evil. There is also the battle of “good verses best”. Take the battle of “experiences verses relationships.” With three grown kids of our own and 4 and soon to be 5 grandchildren I am learning by observation that the things that we focus in on as parents regardless of our children’s age and that take up the most of our time and resources have little or nothing to do with what impact our kids as adults.

If there was such a thing as alien beings and they came to earth to observe us. What would they discover? I think they would be perplexed that human beings are always in a rush trying to get from one place to another, that we are driven by a deadline to be somewhere where we are not and before we get there we have to spend a good hour or so preparing ourselves. I’m certain that watching life on earth from any other planet would provide hours of entertainment.

Sadly, the world we live in today is “Experience Rich and Relationship Poor.” Parents are becoming driven to provide for their kids what they didn’t have themselves growing up. Take for example the recent college admissions bribery scandal. The modern day version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory where parents will do anything, lie, cheat or bribe officials to get their kids into prestigious schools because they know in our superficial world that appearance is everything.

There is a dangerous trend occurring in our society today that values experiences over relationships, and like everything the devil does, it’s subtle. Like the frog in the kettle the water is being heated one degree at a time and we are made too comfortable to notice until it’s too late. We can buy a lot of things with money but one thing we cant buy is time. Our hour glass only has so much sand in it and when the last grain falls we are done.

In the study of aging adults behavioral scientists tell us that the most important ability needed in society today from age 30-50 is the ability to develop rich and meaningful relationships. It reminds me of the old saying, “its not what you know but who you know.” Just read Acts chapter 2 in your bible and you can see the value of relationships and their importance in succeeding in life. My grand kids have taught me the phrase, “caring is sharing” and it’s true, especially when it comes to our very lives.  The apostle Paul put it like this in 1 Thessalonians 2:8, “So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.”

It’s been well said to error is human and society today is proving that we are erring on the side of being Experience Rich and Relationship Poor. Yet in the end most of us would agree that life is all about relationships. No one dies wishing they had spent longer hours at work but many a man will die with the regret that he invested more of his life into his work than his family.

I guess the point I am making is one I think most of us would agree, we  (humans) are the sum total of our 1. Knowledge 2. Experiences 3. Relationships. And here’s the kicker. Our knowledge is greatly impacted by who we hang around with, who we listen to. With regard to experiences, the highs and lows, the positive and negative memories we each have are nine times out of ten tied to the quality of our relationships. In other words relationships are the most influential aspect of our lives.

If this is true and I believe that it is, the key to successful parenting is to be intentional with your children for the simple reason children spell LOVE… TIME. There is much we can’t control in life with regard to our children, but we can control to a certain degree as parents our children’s relationships. Which after all is the most important aspect of life. Remember, the quality of our lives are the result of our Experiences, our Choices and our Relationships. Our experiences and choices are either enriched or spoiled by the quality of our relationships.

The key to good parenting again is being intentional. Be intentional regarding your children’s relationships. How can we be intentional and influence our children’s relationships you might be thinking? Being intentional is really the key to any and all healthy relationships. Being intentional is about taking the initiative. Its being proactive and not reactive. Here are three really good questions to think about regarding parenting your children’s relationships are, 1. What are you doing to Enhance your child’s relationship with you. Remember kids spell love, TIME. 2. What are  you doing to Advance their relationship with God. Point your children to Jesus. 3. What are you doing to influence your Child’s Romance, the relationships they have with people outside your home.

The two most important relationship choices your child will ever make in this life is with regard to their personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. And secondly, who they will marry one day. Life really is about relationships. Remember, we cant control a lot that goes on in this life but we all have a certain amount of influence over our children’s relationships with us, with God and others. Make the most of the time the Bible teaches us. Let’s spend our time wisely as its the commodity we have so little of in reality. Life is short this side of heaven, so make the most of it! Spend it on people!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16


Michael Osthimer





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