The lips are wagging, and the supposed “War on Christmas” theme is yet again raising its seasonal head. I never associated snowflakes on a cup with somehow sharing the message of Christ being the Savior of the world, so I feel the red cup fiasco is nothing more than a futile attempt by Satan to take the focus off what and Who truly matters this Christmas season and always. The red cup and all other secular, inanimate objects that permeate the conversations of believers are a distraction from much larger issues. Whether or not there is a war on Christmas (we know there is war on Christians), there is most certainly a war on children, and that is the issue we must be talking about and doing battle against as parents.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
Our children are growing up in a world that views men as women and women as men. Our children are told they cannot pray in public locations like the lunchroom or pass out candy canes to their classmates. Sally and Sam are growing up seeing daddy leaving mommy for another daddy, and cousin Oscar smoking pot because it is purely medicinal. Our children are growing up in schools where assignments often have a political agenda, and playground bullies take their attacks to social media. This is the new reality, and this is the real war we must focus our attention on—the battle is for the hearts and minds of our children. As parents, we are the voice of wisdom our children look to for guidance on these big issues, and we can’t sweep what goes on in the world under the rug. It is up to us to help remind them that God is sovereign and God is good, and though we live in a fallen world, we serve a perfect Creator and this world is not our home.
There are mountains of opinions, but it’s never too early to start talking about real issues with children. The approach you use is certainly very different for a 3-year-old than a 13-year-old, but the 3-year-old will soon be a 13-year-old and the 13-year-old will soon be a 23-year-old graduating college and starting a family of his or her own. If you have little children, the opportunities to engage and talk through issues will naturally present themselves—you just need to listen. The “why?” stage seems endless, and as frustrating as it can sometimes be to answer the same question 10,000 different ways, this stage is humbling and beautiful. Your children consider you their first friend, and they want you to be the one giving them the answers. What an incredible opportunity to grow their minds and hearts. “I squished the bug” is a simple lead into talking about the very basic concept of life and death. “Billy said eating vegetables is stupid” followed by “Billy bit my finger at recess” is an easy segway into talking about respect for others, differences of opinion, and oh yes—bullies. The opportunities to talk to our children even at early ages is endless—we need only take the time to respond on their level and build a relationship. Then, when the issues become bigger, and the child becomes older, the stage is set for honest discussion.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Parents, we aren’t called to be our children’s friend, but we are their confidante, encourager, and teacher. We can’t expect our children to always make the best choices—after all, they are sinners. But when your head hits the pillow, it’s important to know you did your part to pour into them and fill them up, so what they pour out is Jesus’ love to a world that is waging a war on our children.
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