(This is number three in a row in a larger series on Child-Training–“Ten Things” Most Important in Child-Training: Advice from An Older Woman.) Click to read number one, “The Proof is in the Pudding”, and number two, “What’s It Going To Take?”)
Hugely impacted by the way we were raised, we accept or reject standards and practices, activities and pastimes, hobbies and interests, based on how our parents raised us, what “everybody” we know is doing, pride, desire to “fit in”, desire to look good in others’ eyes, or desire to purely please our flesh. If, for one second, we sat down and prayed about it, presented a completely clean slate to the Lord with no presuppositions, were truly willing to do exactly what He said, and asked what He wanted us to fill our time and lives with, what difference would it make in the world? What difference would it make in our souls? What difference would it make in our “fruit”–in our children’s lives.
I believe that satan is going through the orchards of Christians and robbing them of their fruit, making their fruit unappealing, not very sweet, and startlingly small, and we are giving up without a fight, in fact we are full participants with him. Christian parents are willing for their spiritual fruit to be paltry. Oftentimes, they choose to be involved in things which promise physical good: strength, stamina, prowess, their physical ability to be magnified. All through our lives, it’s not going to be the obvious wickedness which satan tempts us to do which will make or break our spiritual lives and decide the outcome of our fruit. It’s the choice between the good and the best. It’s about time.
Number seven in my list of “Ten Things” I would tell a young mom, as an older woman who’s raised her children to adulthood: if you want to raise Godly children:
7) Limit or Eliminate Team Sports—We had few. Teams (sports and otherwise) are a dictator over your family’s life and take over your time and schedule. They become your master. Your love for, and allegiance to, them will tempt you to compromise your convictions and to disobey God, and will constantly ask for and demand more and more of you. When our children were in grade school and junior high, I was appalled and saddened by the number of “championship” games that were scheduled on Sundays. (Later, even practices were scheduled on the Lord’s Day). This caused Christian families to have to make a choice between their desire and conviction to worship God and their commitment to the team and not wanting to disappoint their child. Being on a team (or squad, etc.) often introduces your child to foolish (if not immoral) companions, exposes your child needlessly to the world, and invites unnecessary temptations.
Let me tell you a true story to illustrate. When our son was on a team in grade school, a boy brought a certain “magazine,” well-known for its lewd and immoral pictures, to practice and was passing it around showing it to some of the boys–fortunately our son wasn’t one of those who saw the pictures. The coach thought the whole incident very funny. We went to all the practices and games, or we may have known nothing of it. Many a man was introduced to pornography in this very manner, and now it has destroyed his life and family.
Have you placed your foot on the path? If not, stop. I am very wary of “starting down a road” and not being able to turn back. One decision in the early years of a child’s life can start you down a path, on a road, which takes you to a destination you had no intention of going to. Have you ever been on a highway, and realized that you were going the wrong way, but couldn’t get off? No exit ramps. You end up miles and miles down the road, and often it is a very long, time-consuming task, fraught with frustration to turn around and get back on the right road, going in the right direction. This is a very frustrating experience when driving, but in life, it has far weightier consequences. Every choice you make, every activity you allow your child or your family to participate in, is a step on a path, a beginning of a road. Parents start on the road of sports involvement (or it could be ballet, tae kwon do, etc., etc., etc.,) when their children are very young, not realizing where the road leads, or even thinking through the decision at all. It’s very difficult (but not impossible) to discontinue participation in these activities (or get off the road), once you’ve placed your foot on the path.
There’s a story of a woman who won a contest, and her prize was that she would be allowed to go into a room filled with piles of money–piles of one dollar bills, ten dollar bills, twenty dollar bills, up to one hundred dollar bills–and she would be allowed to keep as much as she could collect up in 1 minute. What would you think if she headed straight to the pile of one dollar bills? Why would that be the wrong direction to go in? Is there anything wrong with one dollar bills? No, of course not! The question is not always one of moral right or wrong, though sometimes that is the case, but the question is one of good, better and best! Choosing “dollar bills” means you can’t choose “hundred dollar bills”. Time is short! Choose the best.