I wrote previously about 'traditions' throughout this blog but thought I would go more in depth about why I feel they're so important. I feel that traditions are a really important tool in creating childhood memories, that you return to as adults. I can remember always opening our stockings on mum and dads bed at Christmas. We always got up early and we always commenced present opening (downstairs round the tree) after mum and dad had made their cup of tea. We all sat round as mum handed out the presents and it was great to watch others, as well as, receive presents. I look back at these memories with fondness. Whether its intentional or not, family traditions happen. Whether its the big events like Christmas or just the everyday like meal times, when and where and with whom, you eat.
When we got married and had our children, we then had to start working out our own family traditions. Jon likes to open Christmas presents in the afternoon and for me that would be torture! to have our meals together or in front of the tv.. These little details seem irrelevant but shape family life.
We chose to look at our traditions first - how we live the everyday and the big events in our lives.
Neither of us were brought up in a christian household and it wasn't until after N, son number 2, that Jon became a christian and us a 'christian household'. We have not had a christian upbringing modelled to us and now we are raising up 4 boys to be godly men. Where can we start? I think firstly we have to remember that it is God alone who saves. He chooses who He saves, its not through our works. We can pray for our children to have salvation and to know Jesus. Learning that God is in control does not mean to have the attitude - well it doesn't matter then, what will be will be. God is in control of life and death. He chose to bless us with the gift of children and we can direct and train them to know Him for Gods glory. Parents are Gods chosen way to bring children to Him, so in raising up our boys we need to make the most of each opportunity to live out our faith and teach our boys. I know through being a child, its not what your parents say but how they live it out, that is remembered. So raising our sons is not about just simply telling them what to do, following the latest parenting trend or making them grind away at the bible but for us to be following Christ, to be humble and showing them how we grow in faith. Being a christian and following God is exciting, being on a mission is exciting, this excitement whether things are going well or not, should be evident and they should be aware it is for them too.
It is a massive responsibility, being a parent and being a 'Godly' parent can give rise to unrealistic expectations for yourselves and for your children. It can be easy to turn legalistic or think you're in control of them but then we wouldn't be showing the grace of God in our lives. I think if you're wholeheartedly following God then this will be evident in how you raise your children. There are so many books on parenting available its easy to get lost and not know where to start. The place we found easy to start our christian parenting journey was through our traditions - traditions teach and our children remember them. Also they're great fun to do and plan out. I like this book by Noel Piper and it inspired us to think and plan out our own traditions.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.- Proverbs 22:6