Faithful Living

"Fourteen years ago, when my husband and I dived into parenting with the birth of our first child, we made a solemn oath to our new bundle: We would be her guides. We would give her our loyalty and place her in the center of our world during the first 18 years of her life — devoting ourselves to the task of building a family concerned with her economic, spiritual, and emotional needs. We would present to her, as best we could, a consistent portrait of the values my husband and I embraced.As time progressed we added two more siblings to the brood, both times re-committing ourselves to the same tasks. And while our tailor-made (yet constantly adjusting) parenting plans for each child remain in force, we have also determined there are four paths we will not take in our efforts to parent.First, we will not choose their personal style — including such things as hair cuts and clothing — as long as their choices do not consume their interests or detract from what our kids have to say.Second, we will not choose their spouses, though they can expect dating guidance while they live under our roof.Third, we will not demand repeat performances of our lives. What we chose during our youth and the decisions our parents made on our behalf may not be equally applied to our children today. We also live in faster, more inter-connected world. We have left the Age of Industrialization and entered the Age of Technology. The ways we process information and define our lives is ever changing — even though I firmly believe that the nature of human beings remains the same no matter the Age in which they live.Watching my first color TV and getting my ears pierced were noteworthy events in my young life. Such events are routine for kids today and that is not such a bad thing, with supervision. In these cases, we encourage our kids to measure the technology in their lives and watch TV only when there is nothing important pending. We have also consented to ears being pierced at ages much younger than I was when the opportunity came my way. However, we are currently building a consensus on the number of holes being placed in those ears while the girls are under aged.Fourth, we will not choose our children's careers. We will, however, guide them along the way and focus our endeavors when the time is right to plan for their post-high school lives. This process — of assessing interests and merging those identifiers with natural aptitudes — is an ongoing topic at our household and is interesting to me because it incorporates our faith so beautifully. For years we have told our children and any child who will listen, for that matter, that they were created by God and given life for a reason. They have infinite value and a place in this world-never to be questioned if Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and subsequent resurrection is to be believed. In my family’s view, God reaches out to us through people, events, and his Word. Like always, God’s words speak beautifully here in the Old Testament story involving Hannah and her husband Penninah, who loved each other but remained childless for years.One day Hannah went to the temple and prayed, promising to devote a child’s life to his service if only God would give her one. Months later Hannah gave birth to a son, named him Samuel, and stayed true to her word. When he was a couple of years old she took him to the temple and entrusted his care to the high priest, knowing that he would be lovingly cared for and brought up to obey God’s word. The child, the Bible tells us, grew up straight and true.One night Samuel was awakened by a voice, calling his name. When Eli was awakened by Samuel to learn of the odd occurrence, Eli assured Samuel all was well and he could return to bed. The third time Samuel heard the voice call out his name he recognized it as the voice of God and listened carefully to God’s instructions.Centuries later we still refer to a person's calling, not always remembering that the very first recorded call came from the One on High, heard only by the one intended to do the work.Let us fine-tune our ears to God, knowing that when we work within His will the adventure will be eternal. He is calling. Are we listening?---------------Joan Bay Klope is a freelance writer and former editor of Christian books published by Gospel Light Publications. She can be reached at "

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