I was in college when the movie “Back to the Future” hit the theaters. The movie was about a young man who is sent back in time, where his actions could potentially ruin his future. He has to find a way to fix his past so that the future he wanted would actually happen. Through all kinds of crazy events, he finds a way to manage his past, to get the future he desired.
There’s something to be learned from this when it comes to parenting our children.
Oftentimes, we parent our children based on the “here and now”. We bark out orders like, “Get your finger out of the your nose! Stop making such a mess! Be quiet! Go take your bath! Get in here right now and finish your homework!” all in an effort to bring quick resolve to the issues at hand. We parent for the “now”, without even considering the future.
But what if we parented the other way around? What if we sat down with our spouse and asked this simple question: WHAT KIND OF ADULT DO WE WANT OUR CHILDREN TO BECOME? What if we then began to parent our children now for what what we desire of them in the future?
The best practice is to parent our children not for who they are right now, but rather who we want them to become.
For example, if I want my child to make good decisions, I not only have to teach them how to do that, but I have to give them age-appropriate opportunities to practice making good decisions while under my supervision. I also have to include them in watching how I make my decisions. This gives them a peek into how good decisions are made. By instruction, invitation, and immersion, I am parenting my child futuristically for what he will become.
If I want my child to be kind, I will instruct my child about what the Bible says kindness looks like. I will talk to them about the kindness of God, the parables that teach kindness. I would then model kindness before them in the way I live my life. And, I would provide opportunities for my child to be kind. Again, instruction, invitation, and immersion. Getting the idea?
We parent our children best through instruction, invitation, and immersion.
This is how Jesus led His disciples. He instructed His disciples as to what kind of person they were to be through the Beatitudes and Similitudes. He then invited them to follow Him around and watch Him put those teachings into practice. Then, He gave them opportunity to put what they learned and saw into practice. He knew that He would soon be gone and they would need to carry on His mission in the future. He is discipling us this way, even now, for what is to come.
The best leaders do the same. They look at their companies or ministry, and lead their employees and teams through instruction, invitation, and immersion.
So may you be encouraged today to ask this valuable question:
As parents: WHAT KIND OF ADULT DO WE WANT OUR CHILDREN TO BECOME?
As disciplers: WHAT KIND OF CHRIST FOLLOWERS DO I WANT MY FRIENDS TO BECOME?
As leaders: WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE DO I WANT MY BUSINESS OR MINISTRY TO DEVELOP?
This futuristic perspective in parents, disciplers, and leaders can give greater clarity, purpose and vision for what you do in the now, vastly effecting what is to come.