We are the ones responsible for teaching our children what it looks like to live honestly and vulnerably in the world. Titus 2 gives us instructions on how to raise up young men and women. Jacob uses this scripture to remind us of the importance of being real about life with our kids.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
I think we can all agree on this…Life is HARD! There are situations occurring consistently that can send us to our breaking point. Many of us prefer to deal with these situations in solitude hoping we can convince people around us (and maybe ourselves!) that everything is always ok.
However, God designed life to be lived in relationship with others! This means when life is hard, we don’t “fake it till we make it.” God encourages us to “cast our cares upon Him.” (1 Peter 5:7) Rather, we have the opportunity to be honest with others about what is really going on in life…including our kids. Our children need to know that everything is NOT always ok. Life is hard and it’s ok for it to be hard. We have a Savior who cares deeply for us.
Check out a couple of ways to be real with kids regarding the struggles of life!
- Show them reality – Our kids are filled with media every day that does not give them a picture of reality. We are their source for understanding what life is really like – when life is good and when life is bad. Let them see tears. Let them see laughter, embraces, failures, prayers. Let them hear us tell God we need His help and we don’t know the answers sometimes.
- Teach practical things – Share with the practical things we are learning in the process. Don’t bring them alongside and act as if we have all the answers. Teach them that it’s ok not to have all the answers. Teach them how you deal with or respond to hard things in life. Reinforce positive outlets to relieve stress…ways to can play and enjoy life even in hard seasons. This could look like going on a walk, taking a spontaneous trip to the park, watching a fun movie, or even going to get ice cream. Our kids will experience hard things in life as they grow up, and they need to learn options as to how to respond in these situations. It’s better they learn from us how to do that than to learn from some celebrity or YouTube video.
- Point them to Christ – Even when life is hard and everything is not “ok,” we have hope. Jesus has given us victory in Himself! When you are sharing hard things with your kids be sure to point them to Jesus. No, you might not have all the answers and no, everything might not be alright, but that doesn’t change our standing in relationship with Jesus. Confidently point them to the One who is able to carry our burdens and trust that He will care for us in the midst of our circumstance.
Our children need to know it is ok to hurt. It’s also ok to let them see us hurt. Shoot them straight and trust the Spirit will grow them up to respond well in similar situations.
What is one area of life you wish your parents talked with you about? What is one area of your life you could be real/genuinely honest with your parents about? How do you hope your parents respond when you are real/genuinely honest with them?