“What were you thinking?” “What did you expect would happen?” “Didn’t you know that was due tomorrow?” Many of the most popular parenting questions are actually asked because we have forgotten to teach our kids how to be proactive rather than reactive. We may address some of the various skills of a proactive person, but we need to learn how to teach the heart attitude of being proactive.
Many of the negative consequences our kids will experience (and frankly that we see in the world today) are because people usually react to a situation rather than already having a plan in place should that experience ever happen. Unfortunately, many knee jerk reactions made in the heat of the moment result in decisions that are neither wise nor godly. Most of us don’t really think clearly under pressure and the lack of time won’t allow most of us the luxury of going through all of the steps necessary to make a wise choice.
Remember the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18)? The entire concept around it is that we are prepared for spiritual battle. A knight or soldier who had his armor on was prepared if the enemy jumped out from behind a rock. On the other hand, a knight who had his armor “somewhere” – even if it were nearby – was quite likely to have been killed in a surprise attack.
Life will be like that for your children. It will throw many things at them which if not surprising themselves, the timing of their appearance may be. If you have not taught them how to proactively prepare for these surprises, the chances of them making wise and godly choices will go down dramatically. The world is set through its fallen state to encourage your kids to react with foolish and ungodly choices to its surprises. If they are not prepared to be proactive, the consequences can be severe and even fatal.
As your children grow, start preparing them for the coming challenges. You aren’t trying to frighten them (although at times, a little healthy fear may not hurt!), but rather preparing them to make good decisions with very little time or warning. Talk through possible scenarios and wise godly options for handling them. Teach how to think several steps past the initial response to their choice and what could happen in the more distant future because of it. Talk about poor ungodly choices and why they are bad choices. Use people in the Bible and God’s commands to help guide them. Explain why God’s ways are always the best option.
Raising your kids to be proactive rather than reactive can save you and them a lot of heartache and pain. It can also help them grow to reach their godly potential and follow God’s plans for their lives. Take the time to teach them about being proactive in life.