Popular culture is fascinating. Sometimes the things it supports can be absolutely horrifying. At times, they actually have a good idea. Unfortunately, the secular nature of culture often means this good idea is twisted away from God’s wisdom and can actually cause problems.
Christian kids are susceptible to accepting the world’s view of these seemingly Christian concepts. Unfortunately, when they don’t compare it to God’s complete wisdom on the topic, they accept the diluted or changed wisdom the world is promoting as truth.
The latest example is the emphasis on kindness. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being kind to others. In fact the Bible even tells us to love our enemies.
The problem is how kindness is often interpreted by the secular society in which we live. To many, kindness means we can never share God’s truths with someone because it may hurt their feelings. Once our children believe those sorts of things, they will not grow up to share their faith for fear it isn’t being kind.
There are three key principles Christian parents need to repeatedly teach their children about kindness.
Kind and nice are two different things. Kindness is doing what is in the best interest of the other person. Niceness is more focused on the feelings of the other person – causing the one being nice to avoid saying or doing the things the person may most need.
Being kind is learning to speak truth in loving ways. It may be in the best interest of a friend to know they have garlic breath before walking into a job interview. Telling them is the kind thing to do. Often though, we forget there is also a loving way to share these difficult truths with others.
The ultimate kindness is helping people get to Heaven. Christian young people often believe it is unkind and unloving to tell someone they need to be a Christian to go to Heaven or to hold someone accountable for their sin. Teach your kids that making someone believe they are going to Heaven when they have not become a Christian or are living a life enmeshed in sin, is actually the ultimate unkind act. They are placing someone’s possible hurt feelings over teaching them God’s truths. This should be done in kind, loving ways, but don’t allow your kids to grow up believing withholding God’s truths from others is kind.
The world will probably continue to equate kindness with niceness. Teach your kids about what God considers kindness. It can make a huge difference for everyone your kids encounter during their lifetimes.
You’ve probably seen many articles about kids and social media. Maybe you are worried about even allowing your children access. Or perhaps you think it’s overblown hype that won’t touch your kids because they are different from others their age.
Your teens may want to use social media as a platform for the things that are important to them. Yet, few have adult led conversations about the positive ways they can use social media to serve others and share their faith.
If your teen is getting ready to join social media or has been on it for several years, it’s great to have a family discussion about the many ways they can use their social media platform for God’s glory. It’s also important though to help them think through the ways people often think they are making a positive difference, but may actually be making things worse or drive people away from their interest in God and Christianity.
There are a lot of things you can discuss, but these can help get the conversation started.
Young people today are bombarded by messages that can undermine their faith. They are often over scheduled and stressed. The pressure, along with the very mixed messages from society and their peers, can lead many of them to use ungodly and unsafe ways to try and cope.
Sadly, many young people don’t get enough meaningful attention from parents and other adults to help guide them through the ups and downs of growing up in our world. If young people do have parents who give them enough attention and guidance, they also need other adults to reinforce what their parents have taught them about what God wants for their lives.
Your kids need godly mentors in their lives. It helps them to have another adult who gives them the same advice God wants them to have. If their mentor has expertise in areas – like schools or careers – in which you may not, it also gives you and your kids another resource.
Some churches have a formal mentoring program. The ways they choose and train mentors can vary greatly. Or you may need or want to try on your own to find a godly mentor for your child. In either situation, you need to be aware of the qualities of a person who will make a great mentor for your child.
If you have more than one child, you have probably experienced your share of sibling disagreements. They may seem minor enough now, but the sibling relationship can become so battered, it eventually dissolves. Siblings are going to disagree. How you help them handle their conflicts is critical.
Perhaps even more important is teaching them how to apologize to each other properly for offenses. Apologies are meant to begin repairing relationships, but most apologies do more harm to the relationship than good. If you’ve ever had someone do something hateful towards you and then apologize with, “I’m sorry if I did anything to hurt your feelings,” you understand the problem.
Have you ever thought about how many problems are caused because people never learned how to share well? Sounds silly, but think about it for a minute. An unwillingness to share easily is often a prime indicator of a selfish heart. And we all know selfishness is the root of many sins.
Not to mention sibling fights, friendship spats and other problems caused by children who don’t know how to share well. As with any character trait, it’s easier to help your child make a character trait God wants them to have a part of their identity if you start when they are young.
There are really quite a few simple and even fun things you can do to encourage even very young children to make sharing a part of who they are – not a rule they are struggling to obey.