If you want advice from someone, look for the person who has walked the path already.
My wife, Sarah Hansel, and I are still on the ever short yet marathon of a journey of raising our 6 children. Although three are in college and three are in high school, we will always refer to them as our children no matter the age.
Kids are amazing and a huge blessing from the Lord. Just ask any parent. But there will always be challenges, and yes, sometimes they don’t seem like such a blessing.
Our health is so very important when it comes to life. If we can’t get out of bed in the morning due to an illness, it steels our joy and happiness for the day that is lost. But what if I were to tell you there is more than just physical health that is attacking our children? Is this because we aren’t focused, allowing them to ‘put their big boy and girl pants on and deal with it,’ or lack of attention to detail in this ever-revolving world.
As a parent of 6 teenagers and young adults, I have learned so many life lessons. There are too many to count, but the main ones I am about to share seem to have always been at the top of the list.
How would you measure health in your teen or young adult?
1. Teach Your Children TRUTH Engrain truth in their hearts so they will recognize anything false.
The wisest person who ever walked this earth, Solomon, had this to say about training our children:
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it ” Prov22:6. Teaching a child in the way they should go is the number one factor in making a child truly healthy. So how do we do this?
Start in the Bible.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” Deut 6:6-8.
2. Make TIME to really talk You make time for what is most important
“Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” Ephesians 5:16. If we think for one moment that our kids are not targeted, then we are naive. They have real hurts, anxieties, stress, and relationship fallouts. They need Godly wisdom and advice, and not just from peers.
We also focus on just listening before speaking – it will make a huge difference to let them get it all out first. The Bible tells us “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” Prov 4:23. It is our job as parents to show our kids HOW to guard their hearts. Speak honestly with them. Pray with them. Show them how to pray and never depart from the Scriptures. They are the life line that protects and guards hearts.
3. SHOW GRACE Not every mistake requires harsh punishment
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love” Psalm 103:8. When a few of our kids were caught vaping, I thought never in a million years would they even try this. But they did. Addiction hits quickly with this type of drug. Instead of grounding them from their phone and car, we showed grace, love, and forgiveness. We did give a future consequence that was very heavy.
4. ask questions about friends friends will steer your children somewhere
“Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” – Unknown
I can’t stress how very important this is. If something doesn’t pass the sniff test, something is wrong. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you insight. Then pray. Pray for guidance and wisdom and knowledge. God will give it to you.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” James 1:5-6.
5. Pray, Pray, Pray You are the shield for your children, use it!
“No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord Isaiah 54:17.
We must put on the Full Armor of God. “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” Eph 6:11. No soldier goes into battle without their armor. Nor should a parent on behalf of their child. Stand strong and don’t waiver. Be all in – body, mind, and soul.
True Health of Our Children
The inside spirit and soul of your child is what matters most. Their spiritual character. We can have an amazing all-star athlete or All-state flute player, but if their heart is far from God with rotten character, we have work to do.
Being a parent is no easy task obviously. We will be wrong. We will miss the mark. But just like we forgive our children, God forgives us. But it doesn’t stop there. We must also ask our kids to forgive us when we fail. This will teach them they do not have perfect kids or perfect parents in the future.