In general, I am a laid back, easy going person. I was a follower in high school, which even carried over into my young adult life. I went with the flow even if I didn't feel comfortable with it. I think it was because I lacked confidence. I rarely stood up for what I thought was right. I didn't even have an opinion of my own since I always looked to see what others thought and did first. I'm not sure how I became that way. Perhaps, part personality, part up-bringing? Whatever the reasons there are many times today when I think back and wish I knew enough that I could have stood up for what I believed in. To be confident in who I was and have the courage to do so.
My oldest son doesn't really talk a lot. So when he starts telling me about his day my ears perk up and I make an effort no matter what I am doing to stop and listen. The other night he was telling me about the bus ride to school. He was talking about several things and then he mentioned his friend always tells this other boy to go back to his seat. Of course, me being the mom that I am need to clarify, "What do you mean go back to his seat? You are allowed to walk around when the bus is moving?" My son replies, "No mom. When the bus is stopped and we are waiting to get off at school. We are allowed to get out of our seats." Oh! Phew, I'm thinking to myself, but then I am interested about this other boy.
So I ask, "Why does your friend tell this boy to go back to his seat?" "Because he always tries to scare us, but he doesn't really scare us, he just tries to." Me, more interested, "So, is your friend mean about it? Do you tell him to go back to his seat?" He replies, "Sometimes." In my head I'm thinking, "Sometimes! What do you mean? Your friend is sometimes mean or are you sometimes mean?" So instead of verbally rattling off my thoughts and questions because I don't want to deter my son from telling me things. (We know how kids can get when mom starts asking a million questions. They get silent.)
Instead, I tell him "maybe you should try and put yourself in this boys shoes. Maybe he thinks you guys are cool or maybe he doesn't have a brother at home. That is why he tries to scare you and wants to be your friend. But, you shouldn't be mean to him and just because someone else acts one way doesn't make it right for you to do the same. Always do what you know in your heart is right." Okay, so maybe rattling off my own opinion wasn't the right approach either. In any case, my son listened to what I said.
Oh, how I want my boys to grow up being confident in knowing who they are in Christ. Knowing that no matter the circumstance or situation that they will make the right choice, the right decision. To be the leader and not the follower. To be a light in this dark world giving glory to God through their own actions.
For our children to be confident and leaders they need to know Jesus Christ. They need to know who they are in Him, where do they 'fit in' in this big world?
As parents that is our duty. We need to teach them and lead them to a relationship with Him. Teaching our children about our Creator and leading their hearts to Him will give them confidence throughout their lives.
I believe it starts with the understanding that we are sinners and we all need a savior, Jesus Christ. Romans 3:23
Second, to understand and know how much God loves us. That He sent His one and only Son as the ultimate sacrifice so that we could be re-united with God and have eternal life with Him. John 3:16 In turn, we need to love others as God loves us. We are all God's children and we are no better than anyone else. Mark 12:31
Third, to instill a servants heart by leading by example. They will eventually seek and know what purpose God has for them. Proverbs 19:21
Fourth, for them to understand God our Creator is in control. We need to submit our lives to Him and live each day by His will, not ours and that His plans are for prosperity, for hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 1:11
Lastly, for our children to understand that He is a living, loving God who will never leave us nor forsake us. Deuteronomy 31:8
I started to really seek God soon after my children were born. Not only because I knew I needed Him, but I knew my kids did too. I want them to know their lives have a purpose, for them to not make the same mistakes their parents did. But most importantly, for them to grow up having a relationship with their Heavenly Father and knowing who they are because of who He is and to have that confidence to stand out from the rest of the world no matter what the circumstances are. Simply to be who God created them to be!
"For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth." Psalm 71:5