For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
John Trent and Gary Smalley wrote a book many years ago that I think every parent, future parent and SS teacher should read: The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance. I read it years ago, it helped me in my personal life as well as challenged me in ways I failed as a parent.
Two of the chapters talk about picturing a special future for your child. Words have a powerful impact upon us. Even our name has the power to mold us. When we are expecting a child, we wrestle with what name we should give that has significance for us and our future child. We are careful to make sure the name does not bring ridicule when they reach elementary age. You want a name that will lead to a positive future.
Katrina and I carefully chose the names of our two children:
Our oldest, Tara Danielle, means “tower of strength”. She has taught us many lessons about courage, service and faith. She has faced many health challenges over the years, but continues to amaze us with her fortitude and faith to make the world a better place. She is working on a Master’s of Divinity degree right now with Christian Ethics as her focus.
Our youngest, Joseph Mitchell, means “God adds and gift from God.” Joe was conceived in a time when both Katrina and I were grieving over the deaths of our dads. He is a young man of faith who will graduate from college in less than two weeks.
Here are some ideas to picture a special future for the children of the church:
Teach young adults about the significance of what we say to children. I do believe God has a special purpose for each of us. Take seriously what you name your child, what you say to your child growing up, and keep their special future in your mind as you mold them. Your words will shape them.
Claim a Bible verse for every child in your church. Katrina learned of this method of claiming a special future for children from a neighboring church. When a child was going into first grade, the SS and Missions’ teachers of those children would pick a Bible verse especially for them- based on personality and potential. They would laminate the verse in a bookmark and give it to them along with a Bible. When the child was baptized, graduated from high school, or recognized in worship for something else, their Bible verse was in the worship bulletin. This sends a powerful reminder of the church picturing a special future for their children.
Teach your children to be a blessing to others. It is important to model consistent positive messages of hope and Christ-like behavior for your children and the children of the church. This includes involving them in service projects in the community. They learn to bless others and bring hope. Comment and let me know other ways you claim a special future for your children.