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How do you teach motivation?

What do you do with that difficult child? The one who will have her own way. No matter what.

We learned long ago we can’t make our kids do anything they don’t desire to do.

I let it go.

I want a relationship with my children. I don’t want to be a taskmaster. I want them to think for themselves, make wise decisions… not rely on fear as a motivator.

It’s not my job to teach motivation. It’s between them and God. I can only guide.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

Real success is not what the world would teach us.

I’ve learned to pray – earnestly, unceasingly.

As my children grow up into tweens and teens, our relationship changes, expands…

They’re growing up and will make their own choices. I am more a counselor, a coach, as I watch them learn to fly, struggling with the wind.

They come back to rest and ask questions and learn.

Dinner conversations – after the little ones run off to play – turn to sex, drugs, the media, politics, all the evils in the world. I want them to “be wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove.”

I pray that they will be discerning, successful in their endeavors, and that they are led by God to become the woman or man He wants them to be.

And I pray their paths will be easier than mine.

Parenting a teen is hard and the world tells us it’s all but impossible.

I taught high school English and I saw too many teens fall away to the world, parents oblivious or at a loss as to what to do. I watched on the sidelines, helpless, vowing I would do differently.

I will stand firm and fight this fight. And I will win with God at my side.

I say: nothing is impossible with God.

He will redeem every hurt and heal the wounds our words and actions cause.

He is the God of reconciliation.

Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Matthew 16:24-28

And when I pray for success, I don’t pray for the success the world teaches. I pray for Kingdom Success. I want my children to love Jesus and their neighbor. I want them to shine their light for Him. I want them to live for Him.

I don’t care if my children join the military, become an astronaut, never go to college, become a restaurant server or garbage collector, as long as they do their best and do it to the glory of God.

I don’t care if they never marry.

The pressures of the world are often too much, causing depression and anxiety. We live counter-culturally and it is so, so hard. We’re tired to explaining to deaf ears and blind eyes.

I pray for my kids to discover and learn to use their spiritual gifts, to find their purpose.

I pray my children are global, mission-minded, socially conscious, world changers, servant leaders.

I let go of my desires for them as I allow Him to guide them into who they are supposed to be.

Of course, I want them to be happy and loving and kind.

Having a child who grows up to love Jesus is real success.


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