Recently I got to team teach with my son, Brock, for Forest Home’s Mother/Son retreat. Brock is a football coach but he has helped plant a couple churches, and he is active as a coach in Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He is impacting his world on the high school campus by being a man of integrity and role model to young men in a society where nearly half do not have a father in the home.
One of the highlights of my weekend team teaching was to sit under Brock’s teaching as he encouraged moms to honor sons by effectively training then releasing their sons, and sons to honor moms by obeying them so they could learn to obey God.
One of the verses we have used as inner motivation for our parenting and our ministry is Psalms 145:3-4: Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.
It is a call to proactively pass the baton. That weekend I thought of all the tools we have used and we use to equip other parents to train up their children:
The Inner GPS Question
Compass for the Future! We have three parts to our family compass:
The Family Mission– a vision paragraph for your family
Ours hangs in our house and is in 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make
The Family Motto– a sentence or phrase that summarizes your vision
Ours is “Those who Honor God, God Honors”- 1 Sam. 2:30
The Family Moniker– a logo or piece of art that pictures your family vision
[Read a detailed article on How to Create Your Own Family Compass]
Contract the Future!
To get everyone on the same page, and to lessen arguments and raise family unity, we found a serious of contracts helpful to use with our children as they grew:
The Learner and Leader contract– start this one as early as age 4.
The Teen Relationship Contract– start this one as early as age 11
The media contract– start this one as early as age 8
The Education Contract and The Driving Contract (these are in 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make and are useful in jr high, high school and college)
The Freshman Foundation Dinner and Discussion Questions– this is a series of five sets of questions on the five vital areas a college student must handle to succeed in higher education and launch successfully into his or her own life.
Create a Future!
For those special needs, strong willed or children who lack a strong self-identity, we created a Treasure Map so he or she could see themselves closer to how God views them. This is a powerful tool to help any and every child sense their God given potential and discover their unique talents, strengths and giftedness.
To prepare a son or daughter to own his or her decisions, choices and life responsibilities, we recommend Rite of Passages, like our “walk into manhood” for our sons and Raising a Modern Day Princess celebration for those with daughters.
We believe in placing God’s Trademark ™ on your kids with traditions and memories. TM means:
Things you do year after year, like our annual Leader and Leader Day that we held before school starts. We enjoy a fun family activity then negotiate privileges and responsibilities. Another yearly tradition are father/son trips where Bill passes along what it means to be a man.
Those once in a lifetime or a few times, like the Rites of Passage- Walk into Manhood. These are personalized, Brock was a QB so his was held on a football field, Zach loved his truck so his was held at a racetrack; Caleb is an outdoors man so his was held at a lake. We invited their mentors to come speak into their lives then enjoy a meal together. Memories also included the “team parties” where each of our sons invited their high school sports teams to our home for a pizza party and then they shared video of Christian athletes, played some games then our sons each gave their personal testimony of their faith and gave their friends an opportunity to come to know Christ personally.
All these proactive choices, laid out in our books 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make, 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make , 10 Best Decisions a Grad Can Make, 10 Questions Kids Ask About Sex, and Got Teens? , — these all go back to that same camp– Forest Home. Years ago, when Bill and I were a young couple, expecting a baby, we were at a couple’s conference (much like the one we are scheduled to speak at in the fall of 2015 at Forest Home). The speaker was very good, but it was just the husband. Bill and I went into the same small chapel that Billy Graham prayed in when He placed his stake in the ground declaring he would always preach God’s Word as the Only Truth. That day we knelt and prayed, “Lord, it seems that in marriage and family training it might be more effective if couples would teach together so both the husband and wife share. If that is something you think we would be able to do to help people find a relationship with You and improve their marriages and families, then Lord, we pray like Isiah, “Here am I Lord, send me” .
And God answered.
Later, when our baby was just a newborn, we prayed again, “Lord, it seems that some kids soar at 18. Help our kids soar into their calling, and help us help others also soar into the God-given potential and calling.”
And God answered.
And now the baton is passing and our own sons are carrying the mantle in their own ways. All three love and serve Jesus, they all married godly wives with hearts to reach and equip others too. And one day, our grandchildren will pick up the baton of faith and run the race that is marked off for them too. God wants to help you and your family pass the baton of faith too. Simply pray in faith, Lord, help us be proactive parents”
And God will answer.