Shannon and I seem to have made a critical parenting error when we encouraged our kids to read and expand their minds. Some day I’m going to write a book about all the stuff that other parenting books left out and right there above “choose to like foods and candy that your kids don’t like so you don’t have to share” will be “don’t encourage your kids to be smart until they’re much older, say around 18.” In the middle of the umpteenth conversation about why Madi isn’t going to get a cell phone just because “all” her friends have one, my 12 year old informed me that I am being “unresponsive to her needs”. I kid you not. Nothing like getting stung with a well worded rebuttal from a 12 year old with an expanded vocabulary.
I felt like I had hit pay dirt when her friend Sarah said that she didn’t have a cell phone nor did she want one. I informed her of this news feeling like I had scored the winning blow in this cell phone spar. She told me: “Dad you just told me that I shouldn’t be basing my decisions on what my friend are and aren’t doing. Why are you saying that because Sarah doesn’t want one that I shouldn’t.” Touché
As a parent living in Williamson County Tennessee I find myself in this sort of constant struggle of trying to make sure my kids have enough, but at the same time aren’t losing a grip on reality. When I informed my children that daddy got his first cell phone when he was 23 years old AND that it came in a handy carrying case that it had to remain attached to, they were completely baffled.
I definitely feel at times that we’re losing this battle. Eight year old Ashleigh found out that her friend got the “new” Nintendo DS and even though hers is less than a year old it was eating her heart out that she didn’t have it. After all, it had a camera! She had it all planned out that we could take her DS to Game Stop and trade it in and that if we traded in some games with it we could get $70 towards the new one that was, well, considerably more than $70. She was so genuinely put out with me that she had planned to put her DS and some games in a zip lock bag and leave it out for the Easter bunny with a note asking for a trade in from him. Cell phones, video games, problems solved by the Easter bunny?
I’m well aware that if my children are losing a grip on what matters and what really counts then this is a parenting problem, not a child problem. My kids are not jerks. They’re not rich kids by American standards, and yet they are being introduced to thoughts, processes, and desires that are elicited by living in the one of the wealthiest counties in the richest nation on earth. Williamson County is a great place to raise kids, a great place for them to be safe and protected. But sometimes I have to ask, protected from what?
As a parent I spend every morning driving them to school because it gives me a guaranteed 20 minutes for daddy to talk with them, ask probing questions, and proactively teach my kids the Word. I utilize that time wisely, but I get the feeling that is not quite enough. I think what I’m missing most is that I am giving my kids an academic lesson, but it’s just that academic.
How many lessons can I say that I have learned in life that came from “hearing” it. Maybe that’s why the bible says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17) It also says faith without works is dead. (James 2:20) And what are the works? Going to church every Sunday? Tithing? Singing loud during worship? Nope. Not that there is anything wrong with those things but that statement from James is the crescendo of the 19 verses before talking about serving the poor. I’ve read a statistic that says the vast majority, upwards of 85% of teens who grow up in the church, will walk away from their faith in College. Maybe it’s because their faith is dead? Maybe the reason it’s dead was that the works we are instilling in them aren’t the works that God Himself is calling us to.
One of the things that I love about my home church, Journey Church is that once a month we are serving the community instead of “going to church” on Sunday mornings. We’ve been doing it for 4 months now and at least once a month I get a chance to have a real life “works lesson” with my kids to invigorate their faith.
In our conversations with the kids, we came up with this idea of doing a lemonade stand to raise money for Conduit and our friends in Haiti, Africa and Place of Hope here in Middle TN. Like most God ideas it sort of grew and unfolded as we talked about it. We realized that this is a simple thing that other people, families, etc could do in their own hometown, neighborhood, etc. It’s pretty easy to set up, and not very time consuming. Jesus said his yoke was easy and his burden was light. (Matt 11:30) So I would like to invite you all to join us on Memorial Weekend for our first LemonAID.
We’re going to be setting up a LemonAID stand in our neighborhood. It’s the first weekend the pool is open and it’s always a super high traffic day. The stands need only be open 3-4 hours total. My kids will be manning (or girling it as the case may be). We’ll send you collateral materials for making a sign, etc. There will be prizes awarded for the stands that make the most money, most creative designs, etc.
All money raised will go directly into The Conduit and right out into Haiti, Africa and Place of Hope right here in Middle, TN. Conduit is a 501(C)3 and should anyone actually donate more than the cost of the lemonade it’s fully tax deductible. We’re building a home in Haiti right now that is literally almost finished. There are folks in Place of Hope whose lives are torn apart by addiction being put back together through the power of Christ. Our effort that day is one way to be a part of it. Our armies on the front lines are nothing without the supply lines
If you are compelled to join us, please email me. We’ll be putting up a list on the website of those who are helping. We’d also like to get pictures, videos, stories, etc from that day to share with others. If you’re a parent with kids, if you’re a youth group, or anyone else this is something easy to be part of. Hope to hear from you!