As children of God,and as parents, we are called to act wisely on behalf of our children. That includes providing an education that cultivates God's understanding of "the good life," one that is founded on joyful relationships with the goal of following Christ in all areas of one's life.
Helping our children grow as whole persons also includes cultivating their heart -- and thought-life. And while our words matter, our actions always speak louder. We consciously or unconsciously model through our lives what it means to be "us" in good and bad times. Our children watch and imitate. Even when they rebel and push us away, they are often still acting out of what they believe to be true,as demonstrated by us each day. This might include learned responses to a negative emotion such as "flight, freeze, fight" or responding with courage and discernment to fears, anxieties, and frustrations.
The authors of Rare Leadership articulate and document this phenomena throughout their book.Whether it's an understanding of how our slow- and fast-track identity systems work (chapters 2-5) or the opportunity that we have with our children through mutual mind states (pp. 101-102), we as parents have the power to help our children be more joyful, more at-peace, more flourishing. I encourage each of us to spend some time back in Rare Leadership over the next few weeks to remind ourselves of this awesome calling that we have.
Even more importantly, let's commit to spending more time in Scripture and with our Living God. As our community and individuals have faced different pressures, challenges, and fears this year, I have been brought back to Christ's words on fear multiple times. In particular, this passage has stood out to me:
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
Jesus spoke these words in the middle of his Last Supper discourse. He was preparing for his coming betrayal and death. He had just told his disciples that they are all about to scatter and leave him. But even as he noted their imminent faithlessness and fear, he gives them a command and a triumphant promise:
But take heart;
I have overcome the world.
And because of that truth, we can agree with Paul, in his letter to his own disciple Timothy, that --
...God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7)
As the most important educator in our child's life, we as parents have the opportunity to cultivate how our children respond to the news of the day, whatever the current crisis might be. We, too, have the ability to reshape how we respond and act wisely and with discernment. This is something that we also can do well as a community. Let us continue to support each other as we cultivate within each of our children a spirit of power and love and self-control, because truly, Jesus Christ has overcome!