/> a mother's heart » Blog Archive » What a Responsibility!

So we’re in the midst of surgical-recovery here; Brendan had his tonsils & adenoids removed and his frenum snipped (he was tongue-tied) last week. Parenting a kid who’s hopped up on an opiate (lortab) is VERY different than parenting a kid who isn’t, let me tell you! ;0 We’ve already seen positive effects from the surgery–he no longer snores and he’s now a nose-breather, both of which are very different than before the operation. He also put together the “t” and “r” sounds for the first time (ever!) the other day–a remarkable change from having his tongue freed in his mouth. But as I was saying, the lortab does seem to change my sweet-natured child in to something else–his core personality is there, but the impulse-control that he has had (as much as a 3 y/o has!) is gone, and because he’s fighting the sleepies that the medication brings on, he’s much crankier and sassy than he’s been before. Now before you tell me it’s just him being a typical toddler, I’ll tell you that when we do correct him (more gently and with more leeway than BL [before lortab]), he’s immediately repentant and recognizes what he’s done wrong. So that tells me that his normal sweet-spirit is down there somewhere, under the side effects of the medication. So I wait for him to heal (it’s been 7 days today since the operation) and wean him off the opiate as we go. 😉

But that’s not the point of this entry. Just before Brendan’s surgery, we attended the Grow Up Conference in Alpharetta, GA, put on by North Point Community Church. North Point is the congregation that has spear-headed the “relevant ministry” movement that is going on now (although there are many other “emergent churches” out there at the moment), and they started the KidStuf program that Generations (our church) uses. So this was a chance to get new ideas and get “re-fueled” at a place that shares our heart for ministry to families.

This year’s conference was amazing–God really used it to confirm what my heart wants to do (minister to families) and give me direction beyond what I had already. I came away encouraged! This is what I wanted to share specifically about the conference: one of the main speakers (Reggie Joiner) had his annual session “Enlist the Family” (i.e., in ministry). He talked about the superiority of involving parents in family ministry over letting paid professionals (church staff) and volunteers (Sunday School teachers) do the work of discipling our kids. Keeping in mind that I’ve fully bought in to this model of ministry and think it’s much more effective than the “old model” in general, this really struck me. Reggie brought out a small scooter–8HP, maxed out at 40mph, a little 2-cycle engine. This is the “let the church do the discipling” model. Church staff and volunteers have 40 hours in one year to reach your kid(s) with the truths of the Gospel. That’s one work-week spread out over the course of the year–including illness, vacation, and holidays. Not very much, considering the time an average 4th grader spends in front of video games per week. Then someone rode out a 2005 Honda NightHawk Special Edition motorcycle. This monster has 125HP and does 0-60mph in 4.1 seconds–it will beat a Maserati off the line! This is the “enlist the family” model of discipleship. Parents have 2500 hours in one year to reach their kids with the truths of the Gospel–nearly 63 times more impact that staff and volunteers can have. Churches can choose the model they want to use, but me? I’m choosing that Special Edition NightHawk and the power that comes with it!

Now juxtapose this object lesson with what we heard in our small-group curriculum “Parental Guidance Required” ( see this post ). Andy Stanley talked about some imaginary “dials” that we parents can “tune in” for our kids’ lives. The dials are “Relationship with Parents,” “Relationship with God,” and “Relationships with Others.” His basic point was that as parents, we have the ability to adjust the dials to impact our kids and their lives with maximum impact from us and from God–if we so choose. Instead of letting others have more impact in our kids’ lives than we do (or than God does, for that matter), we have the opportunity to put a *relationship* with our kids on the front burner and to impact their lives more than anyone else. We can teach our kids about God (or not), we can teach our kids our values (or not), and we can teach our kids that although we are their parents (and with that comes massive responsibility), we are also there to build relationship with them. That they are more important than *stuff* if our lives and we will live like that.

Wow–what a responsibility we have! We won’t be judged in the afterlife on what we drove or how much we stashed away for a rainy day, but we will be required to give account of what we did with the children God gave us to raise and how we taught them about Him and His great love for us. Now that, my friends, is discipleship. And again, what a responsibility we have!

In case you’re interested in a great tune, check out Casting Crowns’ song “American Dream” when you have a moment. It’s an updated version of Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” and I’ll wager that you won’t be able to listen to it without having your emotions stirred up..

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Category: life musings
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