When my kids entered middle school I was struck by two new realizations. First, there is an exponential cultural impact moving from elementary school to middle school. Even if I choose to remain connected and involved with my children, families of other students seem to pull back becoming less of an influence while peers become more of an influence. Second, my children could be out of my home in just six years!
Are your kids entering middle school? Is your tween or teen resistant to Biblical instruction? Or do you have young adults who are out of the house?
I decided to do something every dad (parent) can do for their tween, teen, or young adult. I decided to write letters. I made a commitment to write my kids six letters a year on core values. (You may not want to write six but even if you write one or two a year, those personal notes from Dad will make an impact.)
To determine the focus of my message, I would ask myself these two questions:
1) Is the issue something that creates anxiety in me? When my children became aware or exposed to unchecked profanity, immodest clothing, cheating, pornography…my anxiety level went way up! I wrote letters that addressed my concerns, shared my experiences and failures and challenged them to make right decisions. I did my best to keep these letters to one page. Think about the impact of sharing a story instead of preaching a sermon.
2) Is the issue something that makes me feel proud of my child? Seeing my son be a good friend. Hearing my daughter play her flute for the first time in church and my son asking an insightful spiritual question. Good grades. Perseverance. Delayed gratification. When I would see these attributes in my child’s life, I would write a letter expressing my joy in their choices, share my experiences and short falls and encourage them to continue developing these strengths. Think about the impact of encouragement!
I would keep in mind the importance of balancing my topics with joy, praise, celebration, and encouragement.
When my son and daughter eventually graduated high school and left for college, they had 50 letters from me, each addressing core values.
At this stage in their lives, I’m sure I care more about these letters than my college-age children. But someday, these will be a treasure. I keep an extra copy of all the letters incase they decide sometime later that they would like a fresh set.
Even though my kids are in college, my letter writing doesn’t have to stop. There is plenty of material for six letters a year!
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
How do you communicate your faith, values and morals to your young person?
By Kirk Weaver
Husband to Trudi
Dad to two
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder and Executive Director of Family Time Training
(A valuable resource for setting a spiritual foundation and molding values.)