keeping our children's hearts

>> March 16, 2010

"Mom, I'm so happy to be part of this family. I'm glad you and Dad give us consequences so we learn how to be better." 

Wow! Hearing those words from my 12-year-old son made me want to melt, cheer from the roof-tops and hug him like crazy all rolled into one! 

We've been struggling with pre-adolescent attitudes lately and wondering how to keep close while still keeping in control. These words made me glimpse a little bit that what we are doing IS making a difference.

As I was growing up, I had lots of friends that were PK's (pastor's kids). And now with the wonderful world of social networking, I've reconnected with many of them. Unfortunately, my heart is sad to see how things have turned out for them. Downhill. Totally living for self. What happened? 

But isn't that so often what DOES happen with pastor's kids? 
Why do PK's so often choose the opposite of how they've been raised?

These are questions that have been on my heart since my husband started pursuing pastoral ministry 2 1/2 years ago. We're in the beginning stages right now, with Brad taking classes towards his theology degree and serving as the assistant pastor at our local church. But we've already seen how demanding of my hubby's time this life can be. Very rewarding, but busy.

So, is it just something that I need to resign myself to? "Teens will be teens" and "Kids will be kids"? Is it inevitable that pastor's kids will go through rebellion, maybe finally choosing a different way than we so desire for them? Do our children have to go through that "stage?"

I submit that the answer can be "No." In reading a book by Steve and Teri Maxwell entitled "Keeping the Heart of Your Children," I've seen that it isn't necessary for our kids to have to go through a time period where they hate their parents and rebel. Yes, they will become independant, but they don't have to do that with an attitude!

Before going back to school, my husband was a boys' residence dean at a boarding high school. This was not a place for troubled kids, but so often we saw issues that the teens had that, as we worked with the parents, we saw stemmed from their upbringing. Scary! I'm sure you would agree with me that the greatest desire of your heart is for your children to be true followers of Jesus. 

So, how do we do it!!???

I don't have all the answers and there are very many days when I feel like I'm at the bottom of the expert pile! But I feel that God is bringing the subject of keeping my children's hearts to the forefront of my mind and giving me ideas of how to do just that. Praise Him for sure, since I tend to revert to how I was raised: hollering and yelling, when left to my own ways.

So... take some time today to think about your PK's. 

Do you have their hearts? Who would they rather spend time with the most? How do they respond to correction? Is their heart turned to God? Or is it turned to whatever their friends are into? How much time do you spend together as a family as opposed to how much time your kids are elsewhere?
Let's answer those questions in our hearts and then talk to God. Ask Him if there is something we can do to show our kids that above everything, we love them so much. We love them enough to raise them with a higher view in mind... heaven. 

It's really easy to let the world's ways and views take over in our own homes. Let's pray that God can put a hedge of angels around our children and protect them from the strong pull of the world, which eventually pulls them away from us as their parents and ultimately, away from God.
I'm praying for all us moms (and dads) who want to keep our children's hearts!

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4 comments:

LaVonne March 17, 2010 at 3:13 AM  

This is a great post, Amy. You know, my little one is only 2 and I have not thought a lot about the PK syndrome. (I thought I had enough to worry about. *sigh*) But yes, I too have seen PKs out of church. Sad. I am just trying to show my toddler Jesus day by day. I will just keep praying and reading. :)

Blessings!
BTW, do you have your own personal blog?

susanhblount March 17, 2010 at 1:18 PM  

Great post. My husband went into ministry when our sons were preteens. It was both a gift and a challenge for them to see their dad hear and live out the call to ministry.

We were and still are living testimonies of God at work to our sons (now 22 and 26 years old) and with this in mind we have measured closely the season of their own spiritual lives as we share with them both the highs and the lows of ministry.

Thanks so much for your words of wisdom!

Anonymous,  March 17, 2010 at 2:28 PM  

My husband and I ran from the call to pastoral ministry for two years before giving in to God--because of fear of the effects upon our boys, who were 6 and 2 when we finally obeyed the call. It was shortly after that that God--He is sooo good--called us to homeschool and also began teaching us the concept of "having the hearts of our children". We have had our bumps along the way, but the boys are now 20 and 15, and are godly Adventist young men who are committed to the Lord, the church, and to the gospel commission. We also have two more children (11 and 9) who are walking in God's ways.

We have received some flack for "not putting our kids in church school", and I am not advocating homeschool for everyone, or even homeschool over church school. But I believe, for us, it had a lot to do with keeping the hearts of our kids. We all know how crazy our husbands' schedules are! Homeschooling has allowed us the flexibility to have our kids with us more of the time and has allowed them to be here at home when their father is here at home, instead of getting home from school at about the time that he is going out to make visits and go to meetings. They are involved in ministry with us and go with us on ministry-related trips. And when we're all burned out and need some time off, we don't have to work around the school calender--we set our own calender.

We have been "ineligible" for calls for which we were otherwise being seriously considered, simply because we are committed to this means of keeping our children's hearts, and some have seen our commitment as being "anti-churchschool" (in spite of the fact that they sing the praises of our children's beautiful characters). But the payoff (seeing our children walking with God)is well worth it! With all the challenges we pastoral families face, it saddens me to see this mentality among those in ministry. I hope we can soon move past these kinds of prejudices and work together for the good of our PKs and the good of the gospel work.

Amy Minett,  May 16, 2010 at 10:50 PM  

Thanks Ladies for your comments. Something for us all to continue to strive for, with God's help! And, no, I don't have my own blog. As much as I'd love to, I just don't have the time to write consistantly. I've enjoyed this outlet though!

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