Who Gets to Influence Our Kids?
Written by Ruth Quek
My kids love to watch ‘Trash Truck’ – an animated TV series on Netflix about a boy Hank, his best friend (a trash truck who only speaks “truckease”) and their adventures with a bear (Walter), a racoon (Donny) and a mouse (Ms. Mona). They love it so much that they have begun to ‘honk honk’ like Trash Truck when they are happy or excited. (If you know my kids please don’t encourage them in this!)
Movies, TV, internet, phones, friends, other adults, people…
Influences shape us. They tell us what to believe, they shape our thoughts, our character, our behaviour. As parents and spiritual leaders of our homes we have to consider what gets to influence our kids and when. As parents we act as gateways that determine what gets let in or not.
Kids are like sponges, absorbing everything that is around them without being able to discriminate, unless equipped to do so. How are we thinking about what and who we surround our children with? How do we teach our older kids to discern for themselves what is shaping their desires and behaviours, what is fuelling their feelings? How does knowing the Gospel and wanting to disciple our children in the knowledge of the Living God shape how we do this?
I was listening to a Christian discipleship podcast that had a very helpful analogy for thinking about how to approach various cultural topics that our children will have to interact with. We can choose to approach an issue as a Monk or as a Missionary. Either flee from this topic because it will not be helpful in any way (eg: Porn – no need to discuss this in detail to help kids understand the dangers of it) or engage with the topic and fight for the Gospel to shape how we/ our children understand and interact with it (eg: romantic relationships – how do Disney Princess movies and Rom Coms portray love and romance? What does the Bible say – about love and sex and marriage?).
We’ve gone on about Faith at Home and Family Discipleship (and we will continue to do so because this is important to God!). Part of it is needing to think about how to engage with our children and help them engage with the world around them through the lenses of the Cross.
The Gospel is distinct and following Jesus requires a whole change in mindset (Romans 12:1-2 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.)
Christian Parent – do your part. Keep doing the hard work of thinking about this and being intentional about it. Engaging with the Word together with your kids. And then trust God with your kids. Christian adults involved in the lives of children in the Church Family – do the hard work too. Think about how your presence in their lives can influence these little and not so little ones to know God, love Jesus and His Church better.