A numbered milepost along a highway: used as a way of determining the exact location of a vehicle.
We have all seen them…you know…those little, green road signs that show how far we’ve come and how far we have to go. They help keep us on track and encourage us to celebrate how far we have come.
Mile-Markers are crucial in parenting. After that evening in Starbucks scribbling our “Family Purpose and Values” on a napkin, we wrote down all the Mile-Markers or milestones our children will hit….the birds and the bees talk, when they can shave their legs, becoming a teenager, when will we take mission trips, etc. Then we asked, “When and How do we want to CELEBRATE these Mile-Markers as parents with our children?”
It is easy to miss Mile-Markers because we get too busy or get distracted and we’ve already missed our turn and someone else…school, friends, church has already hit it for us. Every family is different and every child is different, but the key is to have a plan. Each mile-marker is determined by values of your family, maturity of your child, and what culture you live in (typical social pressures, when schools discuss/educate about sex education, internet safety, current media exposure). Obviously Mile-Markers are on-going. They are not a one time event…just a beginning of a Mile-Marker in parenting.
It’s a Journey, It’s an Understanding, It’s a Voice, and It’s a Choice…
It’s a Journey: Every child is on a journey. We call it the Journey to Independence. This journey is good… right…and natural. This journey is one which the child travels through many stages and passes through several key milestones of development. The five key stages are those of Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle School, High School, College / Adulthood.
Every time we had a Baby Dedication at my previous church, te Lead Pastor, Steve Poe, reminded our church family of a very interesting fact. He stated, “The only thing you can take with you into eternity from this world is your children.” The Apostle John states it like this, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.”-3 John 1:4. Naturally, John was referring to his “spiritual children”, but the same definitely applies to our natural children. A several years ago, I had the opportunity to baptize my oldest daughter, Nadia. I spoke those same words as I introduced her to the church body. “I have no greater joy then this, to KNOW that MY CHILD is walking in the truth.”
Tim Kimmel in his book, Raising Kids Who Turn Out Right, put this responsibility in perspective. Here’s what he had to say:
“Courage is the uncommon ability to resist when misguided instincts call for surrender. It’s that tenacious resolve to do what is right, regardless of the pain. It requires a temperament willing to maintain convictions despite opposition.”
A couple years ago I read a great book called L’ABRI (pronounced La Bree) by Edith Schaeffer. She quoted her husband Francis. It really struck a cord with me in thinking about churches today and how “things are done”… the more I think about it… it really relates to my parenting too.