How many times have you heard older women say, “Enjoy your children each day. They grow up so quickly.” Meanwhile you have multiple carpools, sports teams, dental appointments, and a science project developing on your kitchen table. But, consider this – if tons of women tell you the same thing, it is probably true. I used to hear women telling me to enjoy every day of my kids’ childhood and now I am one of the women who say that to others. Our kids do grow up fast, hopefully in many ways.
Last week we celebrated the first birthday of ChristianParenting.org. This week we will discuss the “growth” of the site. It is good to evaluate our progress, but not all things can be measured by statistics. The same is true for our kids.
We measure their height on a doorframe, growth chart, or the fact that their pants stop above their ankles instead of below. We fuss at our toddlers for taking their shoes off in the car until we realize that those shoes are a size too small and scrunching their toes. Kids leave a pile of clothes on the floor because it took them three tries to find a pair of jeans they can still breathe in. Tweens wear the same pair of pants two days in a row because someone made fun of their older pants that were a little too short. Teens wear the same pair of pants because someone told them they looked great in them the week before.
Physically, our kids grow up fast, and the clothing budget is proof. It’s fun to look back at the birthday pictures to see how they have changed since last year’s celebration. But, it is important to measure more than their physical growth each year.
The Bible says, “Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). I’m sure Mary looked at her twelve-year-old son and thought, “He has grown up fast!” God looks at our kids and measures much more than their physical stature. Parents should use every birthday to do the same. Our children’s growth charts should measure:
- Wisdom. Our kids get smarter every year, but do they grow wiser? Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and ideas. Wisdom is knowing what to do with what they know. Do your kids make better decisions than they did the year before? Do they have a greater knowledge and appreciation of the things that matter most? Is your child growing in wisdom?
- Stature. Is your child growing physically? Are they as healthy as they should be and do they get the exercise their young bodies need to develop? They will need help learning how to accept their bodies as they change and grow. Do they understand the importance of having a healthy body and accepting the person that smiles back at them in the mirror?
- Favor with God. Does your child know more about God than they did last year? Does your child spend more time talking about God than they did last year? Does your child talk with their friends about God? Is your child aware that a friendship with Jesus is something to choose each day? Our children should love God more with each passing birthday. We want our kids to excel in school, sports, and social skills. It is most important that they excel in their relationship with God. Parenting success is found in raising a child who will live with the favor and blessing of God.
- Favor with man. Is your child growing out of their self-centered and self-focused toddler years? Are your kids aware of the needs of others and do they want to help? Do other children think your child is popular or do they think your child is kind? (Those are not always the same thing.) Do your children treat you with the biblical respect they should? Kids need to find favor with other people and treat them as they would want to be treated. The golden rule is still gold.
Your children are growing up fast. Take some time to label their growth chart with the same biblical standards that were applied to Jesus’ life. If your children are growing in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man, then they are growing up fast and growing up to be people God can bless.
And to their moms and dads—take a moment to hear God lean down and whisper in your ears, “Well done my good and faithful servant!” Parents have a lot to keep up with. But we have a God who loves the opportunity to help!