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SERMONETTE: Good kids don't just happen

When your son or daughter eventually leaves the house, what kind of person will they be? I think most of us would say that we want our kids to grow up to be respectful, hard-working, God-honoring adults. We hope our kids grow up to be good people. But what are we really doing to make that hope a reality? If we really want that to happen, we need to have a plan. We need to have a vision of who we want our kids to be, and an idea about how we are going to help them get there. We can't just hope it happens.

One problem I see today is that we send our kids mixed messages. We might say God is our first priority in our homes; however, our lives are sending a very different message. We live in a crazy world. Our kids are in tons of activities and we just hang on for dear life. We go to church when we can, but most weekends are filled with tournaments, choir concerts, camping, and all kinds of other activities. All those things are great things, but when they take over our lives, I think we are sending a message to our kids that we are not intending. We are saying sports come first. Music comes first. Time to relax comes first.

We may say that God takes top priority in our lives, but actions speak much louder than words. Our kids know exactly what is most important to us. Our schedules speak loud and clear. This is not an easy problem to fix. Our culture is so busy and so overscheduled. We feel like if we don't put our kids in everything, they will miss out!

However, I love what the New Living Translation of the Bible says in Romans 12:2, "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

We don't have to go along with what everybody else is doing. We need to change the way we think. We need to do what is best for our family and what we feel is important. When my kids leave the house, I will be more concerned with what kind of person they are and not what kind of athlete or musician they became. They could become one of the greatest athletes in South Dakota, but if they are a lousy person and they aren't following God, I'm going to feel like I blew it. Because ultimately, that other stuff doesn't matter.

Take a minute to think about what messages you are sending your kids. What would they say is most important to your family? Where you spend the majority of your time is a pretty good indication. If you don't like the answer you are getting, it might be time to shift your focus. Make sure you have a vision and a plan for where your kids are heading. Our kids are too important to just hope they end up on the right path. We need to first guide them on that path.