Raising a Child To Be Different (For Christians)

Raising a Different Child (For Christians) - Parenting Like HannahI love little girls when they are in that three to five year old range. They will put together the most creative outfits you have ever seen. I remember I left our sleeping daughter with my husband when she was that age. He was going to help her get dressed and then they were meeting me somewhere a little later. She showed up in let’s just say a very innovative outfit.

Now to the average person, this particular outfit looked as if it had been pieced together by someone who was slightly color blind. When I asked her about it, she proudly replied “It’s all pink!” And she was right. In all of it’s mismatched, clashing glory, it was all pink. She was beautiful because she was confident in her beauty and fashion choices. She didn’t care what anyone else thought in that moment, because she was “pink”!

How great is that? What if we could somehow teach our children to be that confident about their Christianity? About making godly choices even when no one else does? About loving and serving those viewed as unloveable? About sharing their faith confidently with anyone and everyone?

We can, but there is one little secret. You have to teach your child as early as possible to embrace being different. That’s right. Remember all of those verses about being in the world, but not of the world? That means if your child is a faithful Christian she will still be living in the world, but she will be different from almost everyone else. You see God designed Christianity, so that if Christians live their lives the way God wants them to do, they will be different. Very,very different. Different enough that they will stand out like a light on a hill.

Why? Because standing out and being different – very different- in a godly way will draw others to God. Have you ever taught your children that idea? If not, tell them today. And tomorrow. And over and over throughout their lives. Celebrate when your children do what God would want them to do and  they did it in spite of what their friends thought. Encourage them to erase “being popular” as one of their main goals in life. Train them to embrace being a godly different – constantly loving and serving others and sharing their faith with them.

I won’t kid you. There may be some negatives your children will experience because they are “godly” different. I’m not talking ultra-conservative 1880’s different.  Just garden variety, Christian, light-on-a-hill different. Your children may be teased. They may be rejected by potential suitors because they won’t have sex before marriage. They may not be invited to the “cool” parties because they aren’t willing to get drunk or high. They may feel very different at times.

Love them through any pain being godly causes, but encourage them to continue being that light for God. Ultimately, over time your child will see the benefits their differences have given them. They will thank God for helping them avoid the consequences of living an ungodly life. They will rejoice at seeing someone become a Christian. They will feel the warmth of God’s love being reflected back to them because they were loving and serving others. Maybe, they will even begin to encourage everyone they meet to be that godly different, too.

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Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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