By Jean Bagga
iPhones, friends, music games, community service mandates, reality TV shows — these are all things taking us AND our kids away from the most important thing of all: God. And we as parents are allowing it.
I saw it happen in my own home and it’s happening in the homes of many people I know. In the busyness of our lives, we are pushing God out. We rush around in the morning getting ready for school and work. We barely say good morning to each other, nonetheless acknowledge and say good morning to God. We’re inundated with after-school activities. We return home and rush to get through dinner so that we can get to the homework, the emails, TV shows we MUST watch, etc. Sometimes we remember to give thanks to God, but it’s usually after everyone has finished eating and has scattered.
In some households, it’s as if a transfer of authority takes place in which the kids are telling their parents what they will and will not do, and parents are giving in due to tiredness or frustration. Overnight, the child has become their own boss, and parents have lost most, if not all, influence.
If your children decide they don’t want to attend Church, or Mosque, or Synagogue, do you give in and hope that next week they’ll change their mind? Or do you make it mandatory because you ARE the parent, you ARE the one who makes the healthy choices for them at this point in their lives? My own children were brought up with a spiritual upbringing, and worshiping God was not an option. They were taught that attending Mosque was a weekly occurrence. But by their early teen years, we were faced with their numerous objections and scheduling conflicts, and pretty soon, they became the “boss” when in fact we should have tightened the rope.
If you are still raising children in your home, don’t be afraid to take the reins. Insist on praying together as a family before the day gets off to a crazy start. Bring God with you to the dinner table (and breakfast and lunch!) Insist on prayer before meals. Make the kids turn their phones off during family time. If they complain that “no one else’s family has these kind of rules” then respond that hopefully one day they WILL! Confront all the after-school activities that are “mandated” (most of the time, it’s other adults that make decisions about community service hours that our young teens require for various school credit, but do we ever challenge this? It is taking away from the life of our family!)
Let’s HONOR our families by confronting this reality. Let us recognize our families as the gifts that they are, as given to us by our Creator. Let’s act as if God has knocked on our door and is a permanent guest in our home, because He IS in our home, in our lives, each and every minute of every day (even if we haven’t “opened the door”, He is still there!) Let us never forget to thank Him, praise Him, and allow ONLY Him to guide us.