The message that we should empower our children can be found just about everywhere. The idea that kids should dream big and shoot for the stars is almost sacred in our society. We are told that they should take charge of their own destiny, and are in control…they alone have the “power” to shape their lives. I feel quite the opposite. I actually discourage this way of thinking with my children.
Why in the world would I do this? When I look in John, I find this verse.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
Apart from Christ, we can do nothing. Absolutely nothing. We can’t even do a small, tiny bit of good on our own. In Philippians I find this verse.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
When we *think* we are making good decisions on our own, it is actually God directing our will. It is God directing our children’s will. We should be giving glory to God for all things, instead of automatically praising our children.
Don’t get me wrong, instead of telling my children that I’m proud of them, I say that I am thankful that the Lord has blessed them with certain gifts. I remind them that we should give thanks to God in all things. The power does not lie in us, but in Him. When we “empower” our children, we are actually giving credit to them that rightfully belongs to God.
Disney Jr. programming was a big hit in our home this summer. At just about every commercial break, a song titled, “You Can Be Who You Want to Be” played. By August, I was ready to throw my television out the window. (Just kidding…sort of). I pray that my children remain grounded in the truth that without Christ, they are nothing. They can’t be who they want to be.
We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.
Human beings are planners! We would make things so much easier on ourselves if we realized that no matter how much we plan or dream, the Lord will be determining our steps. When I was a child and teenager I had BIG plans, and my life looks nothing like I thought it would. I know now that is because the Lord determined my steps, and not I. I am forever thankful that He was the one in control, because I couldn’t imagine my life any other way.
I would like to encourage you to begin praising your children in a different way. Instead of automatically praising them, praise God for their gifts and talents. Tell them of your thankfulness to God for them. After all, your children are beautiful gifts from God who are created in His image! If you do commend them for their efforts (which I do as well), be sure to remind them frequently that the Lord is who enables us to do all good things. Instruct them to seek the Lord always, and teach them that He is the one determining their steps. All praise be to God who is the “power” behind our actions.