This parenting gig comes with all sorts of worries. Some we have a small amount of control over – like making sure we don’t run out of milk or that the electric bill is paid on time – and others feel so far outside of our scope that we have no idea where to even start – like living in a culture that seems increasingly antagonistic towards our faith.
I’m a huge proponent of only doing what you can do (and doing it as well as you can) rather than tearing your hair out over the things you can’t do anything about, but even I occasionally worry that I’m not doing enough to ensure my kids are free to express their beliefs without fear.
My daughters’ elementary school had their Open House recently. In case you’re not familiar with the concept of Open House, all of the parents come to the school one evening during the week. We walk the halls with our kids, meet with the teachers, visit classrooms, and check out what our children have been doing and learning the 40 hours a week they’re away from us.
Our elementary school likes to display the kids’ work on the main hallways, too. There are rows of artwork produced by the kindergarteners, science experiments constructed by the third graders, and “All about me” posters made by the first graders.
As I was walking along the main hall to get to the fourth-grade wing, I saw a row of writing samples produced by students in my middle daughter’s class. Our state has a standardized test that most grades have to take, and the fourth graders had been practicing for the writing portion.
I asked which one was my daughter’s, and she proudly pointed hers out in the row of hand-written essays.
“Do you want to meet someone you really admire?”
That was the prompt that the students were asked to write about. And as I read through my daughter’s answer, I realized something that I had overlooked in all my worries and wonderings about the direction of the society we’re raising our kids in…and the role I have as a mom right now.
Because they can’t take Jesus out of our schools if we send Jesus to school in our kids.
My daughter’s response to that question of who she would like to meet answered my question about what I should be doing.
“I want to meet God the Father because he’s the king of kings and he is the most important person in the world and beyond!”
As a mom, at this time and place in my life, I’m not equipped to go out and change the culture from the top down. However, as a mom, with these sweet children in my care, I AM equipped to make sure that they know who Jesus is – and through that, change the culture from the inside out.
I can tell them about what God has done in my life. I can teach them the truth according to His word. I can take them to church and surround them with people who love God and enjoy worshipping together.
I can play praise music on the radio when they’re in the car with me, I can pray for others with my kids throughout the day. When they ask questions I can help them search for the answers. I can take them places and show them how we serve others.
I can be honest with them about the times I fall short, but tell them my hope is not in my own effort.
“…[W]ithout him we would all be living in a world of sin! As a result, we are now all living in love thanks to his great love for us.”
I can get my kids involved in youth group, model personal study and reflection, and make sure my hands and feet are doing what my mouth is preaching. I can invite God into our family and ask Him to transform us from the inside out so that no matter what laws are passed, no matter what opposition is thrown against them, nothing can take Jesus out of my kids.
2I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
And if Jesus is in our kids…then Jesus CAN’T be taken out of our schools.
Our kids will be little Jesus lights walking those hallways. Little Jesus lights taking those tests. Little Jesus lights eating cafeteria food, making friends and sharing hope.
“I hope I could see God one day, and I hope you do too!”