When I was growing up, I was tall and incredibly thin. No matter how much I ate or what I tried, I couldn't put on weight. I knew it was bad when in high school some girls referred to me as a Q-tip. (Have you seen my hair when it starts to get a little bit long? It just poofs out.) Now, I long for those days. It seems that about the time I met my wife, we got married, and she began cooking on a nightly basis, my body decided it would no longer struggle to gain weight. It completely caught me off guard. I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and it didn't matter. Oh, how things have changed!
I had felt for a long time that I needed to lose some weight and get myself in a healthier state. It was time to pay attention to what I was eating and how I was exercising. Things were not getting better, so I needed to take action. During the months of COVID isolation, I finally did just that. I took a step that I had never taken before: I intentionally made a plan. In fact, my wife and I made a plan together (this was mutually beneficial). Over a few months, I was able to lose around 25 pounds. So, why had I never been able to do this before?
Reaching a goal requires a purposeful plan.
Even though I had the desire and the intention, I never came up with a plan. Eating a little healthier for a day or two and going for a walk or a bike ride sporadically wasn't ever going to help me see the results that I wanted. It wasn't until I sat down, thought it through, and came up with a plan that I took the necessary action and began to live out the necessary discipline needed to see results.
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. — Benjamin Franklin
The reality is that if you don't make a plan, the odds of you accomplishing your goal decrease considerably.
Parents, we also need a plan when pointing our kids to faith in Jesus.
We all have the desire of seeing our kids turn to Jesus as Lord and Savior and develop a firmly-rooted, authentic, resilient faith. But this won't happen by accident! Our hopes and dreams are not enough to see this come to fruition. We must put together a plan if we want to disciple our kids well.
Here are 3 rules for helping you create a discipleship plan for your kids.
1. Think with the end in mind.
It is important to know what you are working towards. Rather than picking up a Bible and trying to instill some habits, take some time to sit down and think through your hopes and dreams for your child's spiritual future as an adult. What do they need to know and how do you want to mark their character and faith? This will give you the full picture of what you need to teach and work through during their growing-up years. It allows you to put together a progression plan that will help you disciple your kids through the necessary steps.
2. Start small.
The tendency is to start by doing everything - every good idea that you think of, read and hear about. But this will not end well. Not only is going from 0-60 with your kids not going to be well-received by them, but it will also not be sustainable for you. You have a lot of years ahead of you (even if you already have teenagers). Take the first steps slowly. Talk to your kids about your heart and desires for them and one or two things that you want to begin doing with them as you walk them through this discipleship journey.
3. Find accountability.
Even the best intentions with great resources can't ensure that you will follow through and succeed in this discipleship journey. God made us to be in community with other believers (this is the beauty of the Church!). It is important to surround yourselves with other like-minded parents who are on the same journey with their families as you are. Together you can encourage one another, exhort one another, hold each other accountable, share ideas, and celebrate milestones. God has given us each other for a reason!
So, what are you waiting for?
Don't keep putting off 'til tomorrow what needs to be started today. Don't make the mistake of leaning on your hopes, dreams, or even convictions. Schedule some time to sit down, do some thinking, some praying, and some planning. Trust me, your child's spiritual future will not only be far more stable but will have an impact on generations to come.
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