I am visiting my daughter Emily this week (Spring Break) in Frankfurt, Germany. While I am very proud of our girl, Kim and I both wish she were living on this side of the pond. Letting go as a parent is another reminder that we are not in control. Our children are on loan. They are entrusted to us, but ultimately not controlled by us… at least beyond the early years.
That being the case, I want to encourage those of you to realize you have a window of opportunity with your kids. You have a season to set a credible example of faith and lay a foundation with your child. A season to talk about God and his place in your life, while they are impressionable. The season to build a heart connection with your kids is shorter than you think. I discovered that walks together, drive time (ferrying Emily to classes and practices) and our nightly “tuck ins” were the best time to talk to Emily about life. She is a deep thinker and loves discussing theology and philosophy, which is fun for me. We see a beautiful picture of what this can look like from Moses’ challenge in Deuteronomy 6.
“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.’ (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NLT)
If you will build trust and establish a heart connection with your child, then when they are wrestling with the big issues of life, you will be someone they turn to. Last week, as I talked with Emily about our time together this week, she let me know some of the things she is wrestling with in life. More than any sights we will see in Frankfurt or Berlin, I look forward to talking with my daughter about life. Life is short, men. Figure out how to connect with each of your children. You will be glad you did.
Dr. Chuck Martin
Lead Pastor, Frisco First Baptist Church