My daughter was probably the first generation who started using computers as toddlers. They are so comfortable with technology, many appear to be lost if a device is not permanently attached to their hand. While there are negative things about this trend, it does have some advantages.
Because our children are passionate about technology, they can be taught to use this passion to serve others and share their faith. Unfortunately, many of the adults working with young people don’t even consider this as a possible talent to be used in service to God. An important opportunity to teach our children and teens to use their passions, skills and talents for God is missed.
In Atlanta, it’s really easy to shield yourself and your children from poverty. Everything we need is often within a few blocks of our lovely, manicured middle class (and up) neighborhoods. Our churches are filled with people who may have terrible trauma in their pasts and current problems that would make us weep, but they usually put on a smile and tell everyone they are fine. We may participate in short term mission projects and trips, but they usually involve swooping into an area to help and then swooping out without really getting to know the people and what their lives are normally like.
When we insulate ourselves and our children from the realities of a broken world, we miss out on the ability to fully love and serve those around us. It becomes easy to make assumptions about what people “should do” or “know how” to do. We may even refuse to serve entire groups of people because they “deserved” what happened to them.
Ask any server and they will tell you how deflating their job can be. If they are industrious, they wait on people’s every whim in hopes of adding a few dollars in tips to their less than minimum wage salary. On a bad day, they would have made more money working at a fast food restaurant. Truly good days are often few and far between.
Thankfully, I have never had to wait tables, but my friends who have, tell me stories of the unbelievable rudeness and self-centeredness of many restaurant patrons. Perhaps an even larger insult is that to the majority of restaurant patrons, the worker is a nameless, faceless blob with food.
No, Christians don’t have some weird recipes only we know (although there are a few potluck recipes I question!). We can though, use our cooking to do more than fill someone’s stomach. I hope as we teach our children to cook, we are also teaching them how to serve with what they produce.
I know, quite a few of you are now having a mild panic attack. You just realized you have never made a concentrated effort to teach any of your children to cook. At best, one of them can pop popcorn in the microwave and there is at least an even chance one of them can boil water, but that’s about it. The idea of using what they produce in the kitchen to serve others is a fantasy from another day and time.
I am going to challenge you to take back your kitchen for the Lord. If you are like me, this may mean cleaning out a few cabinets or a trip to the grocery first, but that’s okay. Clear an afternoon for you and all of our children to do some good old Christian cooking. You can use some of the ideas below or come up with your own.
This month’s assignment in Teaching Our Children to Live More Like Jesus is to take the time to prepare our children to serve God. In Preparing Our Children for God, I shared some of the reasons I believe this is possibly one of the most important things we will ever do as parents.
Unfortunately, I am afraid many parents put more thought and effort into how they will potty train their child than how they will prepare that same child to follow and serve God. Admit it, when your first child was old enough to potty train how many articles and books did you read? How many experienced parents did you ask for advice? How many times did you call someone in the middle of the training process for support or emergency advice?
I think sometimes when we think about trying to be as purposeful about preparing our children to serve God, we just get overwhelmed. How are we supposed to train our child when we still don’t totally understand everything ourselves? Where is the training manual? Whom do we go to for the correct advice? You may even feel a bit embarrassed asking for help because you assume all of the other Christian parents have it down pat and will be shocked you don’t.