Roots & Wings
“The greatest legacy we can leave our children is the gift of roots and wings.”
By Teresa Kindred
While I’m not sure who first said this, I do agree that giving our children the gift of roots and wings is critical. However, I would also add that children need a third element, a strong spiritual background.
If we give our children roots they know where they come from. If we give them wings they have confidence they can achieve their dreams. But if fail to give them a spiritual foundation on which to build their lives, we haven’t succeeded as Christian parents. Yes, I realize that there are no guarantees when it comes to raising children. Even though we may work hard to give them the things we consider valuable, things may not turn out as we had planned.
Most of us are familiar with Proverbs 22:6: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Good parental advice, but do we take it to heart? What does it mean to train a child in the way he should go anyway? Deuteronomy 6:6-9 helps us define training our children this way:
These commandments that I give you today are to be upon 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.
Sounds like God takes training our children very seriously, doesn’t it? But do we?
No doubt many of us spend a great deal of time and money to train our children in today’s world. But are we training them in things that really matter? How many hours do we spend at little league games, soccer, volleyball, football, gymnastics, band… compared to hours we spend studying the Bible with our families? How many “teachable moments” have we seized with our children this past week? And if children “learn what they live,’ then just what are they learning from us at home?
Hopefully they see mom and dad doing the following:
- reading their Bibles daily
- treating each other with kindness, respect, and consideration as people created in the image of God
- praying together and separately
- making God and church their number one priority
- speaking to one another with courtesy and a desire for Christian encouragement
Raising kids to become strong Christians doesn’t just happen. God has made us, as their parents, their greatest role models. If we want our children to be soldiers in the Lord’s army, then we have to lead the way. Our lives and our values will make a lasting impact on our children, so let’s live with Christian character. So often we concentrate on giving our children the material things and neglect the lasting things like faith, hope, and love. Leo Buscaglia once said, “The only thing of value we can give kids is what we are, not what we have.” Well, like it or not, we will give our children “what we are.” So let’s make sure what they see in us, and what we truly value, are things that spiritually lasting. Let’s let them see a spiritual foundation so they can join us in building upon it.
Roots, wings, and a spiritual foundation to build upon… now that’s a legacy in which any parent can be proud and a place for any child to build a life that matters!Teresa is a Retired teacher, author, public speaker, and a blogger. Visit her at www.nanahood.com