A greenhouse helps grow healthy plants while protecting them from the cold weather.
Part of our role as parents with young children is to help grow them up with a godly view of life. They will eventually experience the joys and hardships of living in the world, but the foundation is as important for their young lives as it is for the plants in a greenhouse in the winter.
There’s no silver bullet to successful parenting – we pray, trust, and do our best. But one gift we can give our children is the gift of authentic love, foundation in God’s word, and a home that is welcoming and nurturing.
I honestly don’t know much about greenhouses, but I’ve walked through a few. Flowers and plants in greenhouses always seem strong and healthy. I’ve seen people in greenhouses watering, pruning, checking the climate, and making sure things are growing well.
Here are a handful of things you can do to make your home a greenhouse for faithful children:
Develop in them a godly worldview
Start with a godly worldview, so as your kids grow older, they will be able to determine what is right and what is not. If God’s word isn’t the north star, anything will go.
Teach them to pray
Pray before meals, pray for before bed, and pray when decisions are tough and life is not going well. Teach your children to pray prayers of praise when awesome things are happening. Help them learn to pray out loud and for others.
Share the discipline of reading scripture
Read scripture together at night or before meals. Make sure the Bible app is on their phones and devices. Talk about scripture, its promises, its wisdom, and what you’re learning.
Model the commitment to worship
I have found that 100% is easier than 98%. Commit to being in worship each week – then you never have to wonder if you’re going to attend or not. If you don’t attend now and then because of something of much lesser value, there will always be a question. Our family has strived to have fun being part of the church together.
Provide accountability and structure
Kids will respond to accountability and structure. You may not like to give discipline and they may not like discipline at the time. But after a while, discipline brings true joy. Freedom comes from living within the limits and experiencing God’s grace. True love will mean taking notes, setting standards, and making sure your kids have structure. Simple things like a time to turn lights at night or tithing ten percent will turn kids into adults who are world changers.
Help them choose a purposeful life over a busy life
As the parents’ schedule goes, so the kids’ lives go. We have maximized our way right out of uninterrupted and unstructured time that is so needed for kids to grow. In many ways, we have abdicated our jobs by handing our kids off to schools all day, and various coaches, teachers, clubs, and directors all evening. Some activity is fun, but as Dr. Kevin Leman says, “It’s your child, not a gerbil… take them off the exercise wheel.” Sports have a place in our lives for fun and exercise.
We’ve all read about the need to be together for meals as a family. That requires learning and teaching the rhythms of a purposeful life over a busy life. When it comes to signing your child up for activities, less is probably more. Childhood should be about dreams, imagination, fun, and creating experiences. In our culture, it’s become too much about focus, skill honing, college, and scholarships. Teach your children to live purposefully. Pruning your calendar will be difficult, but the fruit will come later.