Reality #1: As a parent, the first thing I need to realize is I’m not sovereign over my children’s future, God is.
Reality #2: As a parent, the second thing I need to realize is I can have a major impact on the direction my children’s lives take.
There is tension there, but both ideas are biblical.
And as we watch our kids grow, there is a first thing we as parents need to continually ask ourselves: What direction is my daughter heading?
Where will my son end up if they keep going this way?
In other words, what is my child’s trajectory?
There are several areas we parents should consider as we reflect on the trajectory question. Here are five of the most important:
1. Is my child heading towards or away from determining what his gifting is?
You children need to learn to use the gifting God has given them, or what they will find fulfilling. Are they heading that direction? Are they moving towards being more able to serve God and others?
2. Is my child becoming more or less godly? More or less worldly?
As your children head towards maturity, they should be heading away from foolish and sinful activities. They should be ashamed of sin and hope to please God. Does it look like they are pointing this way?
3. Is my child moving towards our family or away from it?
Your children should enjoy family time. They should feel a need for family support. They should like being home. Do they? Or is the orbit carrying them further out?
4. Is my child making decisions that will increase or decrease his or her own personal joy and that of others?
There are people in the world who are only living in the now, with no thought to long term happiness. More blessed are those who are not self-destructive, but are building themselves up as they are building others up. Which mode is your child moving towards?
And most importantly
5. Is my child moving closer to or further from God and his salvation?
Our children should know the Gospel. They should love the Gospel. They should be becoming more aware of their sin and the distance it puts between them and God. They should see their need for a Savior more and more. They should be choosing Jesus.
If we are honestly asking these questions about our kids and getting answers we don’t like, we should do two things:
1. Pray, because Reality #1 is true, and
2. Act (Love, Speak, Respond, Listen, Encourage Exhort), because Reality #2 is true.
But … how? How should I intervene? Should I be a wall that stops them or a hand that gently guides them? What if they are too far down the road towards destruction?
You can always go back to action #1: praying for wisdom. God grants that petition. And then seek to understand your child more. Listen to them. Read the Bible. Talk to wise God followers who have gone before you.
And pray some more.