Our children are always listening to us.
Kids are a lot like sponges, absorbing everything we say and do around them. Today, they’re growing up in a society that’s trying to give them dangerous ideas about who they are and what they should believe about their futures.
This can be overwhelming for parents to navigate, but we can intervene.
As their parents, we have to speak louder than the world around them so that our kids absorb what we, and ultimately God, have to say about them instead. I have three beautiful children, and I want them to never doubt even for a moment who they are in Christ and what they mean to me.
Related: ‘This Is a Time When Our Light Can Shine the Brightest’
There are a handful of things that I prioritize telling my children whenever I have the chance.
ONE: They Are Made in the Image of God. In the book of Genesis, we see that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). Despite our own insecurities and questions about identity, there is no doubt that we bear the image of the beautiful Creator of the Universe.
I want my kids to know that regardless of how they feel, what they wear, or how others treat them, they are God’s masterpiece, beautiful inside and out. God created them to be exactly who they are, and they will always be enough.
TWO: They Are Loved. Our children need to hear how loved they are. I make sure to tell my children often that their mom and I love them, but that God loves them even more! They are not loved because of what they do, they are loved simply because of who they are—children of God.
Related: Four Thoughts from the Oldest Mom on the Playground
The beauty of God’s love is that it’s unconditional. I want my children to understand that God won’t love them more when they perform well or love them any less when they fall short. Because of their identities, they will always be the object of God’s affection. They don’t ever have to strive to be loved.
THREE: They Are Called. My children have a unique purpose. I want them to know that they’re called by God to do mighty things for the kingdom of heaven. I make a point to let them know that I believe in them and God does, too. He is on their side!
I’ll always encourage them to dream God-sized dreams. Our children are called to change the world, not simply fit into it. We get to encourage them to embrace this identity. We have the opportunity to help them cultivate their God-given strengths and abilities, and we shouldn’t take this opportunity for granted.
FOUR: They Are Not Alone. As followers of Christ, we are never alone, and I want to make sure my children always understand that. Just as the Israelites were reminded in Joshua 1:9—“The Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (ESV)—let’s remind our children that they can confidently believe God is always with them. While I want to empower them as leaders, I also want them to know that both their earthly dad and Heavenly Father have their backs.
Related: Dads, Take Your Kids to Church
I also want them to know the Holy Spirit personally and to understand the power of the local church. These are their permanent lifelines. I pray they learn the power of empathy and vulnerability early, and that they have friends who battle with and for them.
FIVE: I Am Proud of Them. Beyond telling my kids that I love them, I want them to know how immensely proud I am of them. I’m proud when they try new things, whether they fail or succeed, because at least they’re trying! It warms my heart to see them learning in school or making new friends. I light up when I catch them copying something my wonderful wife does. I love to watch them lean into what makes them unique, and when they care for others.
So to my kids: I’m so proud of the three of you.
With Father’s Day approaching, I am reminded of the incredible privilege and responsibility it is to be called “dad.” My children are a blessing. I don’t take this role lightly and I want to help propel my children toward a joyful and godly future.
I encourage you: Let’s continue to build up our children intentionally, in word and deed; they are always listening.
Share your thoughts on this story and other news stories on Christian News Journal’s Facebook page here.
For more news and stories of the day from Christian News Journal, click here.
Nick Hall is founder and president of Pulse—a Minneapolis-based, millennial-led prayer and evangelism movement on a mission to make Jesus known—and a leading international evangelist. He holds a position on the board of directors executive committee of the National Association of Evangelicals. He is the author of Reset: Jesus Changes Everything. For over a decade, Pulse has hosted some of the largest events for the next generation, impacting over five million students and young adults.