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Apparently this week is officially called the Pursuit of Happiness week. I’ve had a few thoughts about that, with the first one being about our role as parent.
We have many desires for our children but I think one of the most significant is to decide if we want our children to be happy or do we want them to be holy. Often these two qualities are at odds with each other.
Don’t worry, be happy!
If it feels good – do it!
Do what makes you happy!
These are popular thoughts that are expressed in many ways in our society today, including the basis of many parenting decisions.
We often only see the word holy in connection with the God we worship and yet he commanded us to be holy too. Holy means set apart, separate. God said to His people –
For I am the Lord your God,
you will therefore sanctify yourselves
And you shall be holy; for I am holy;
This is obviously something we need to take into consideration when we are faced with daily situations in training our children. God is calling them to be holy.
The story of Hannah has always amazed and stirred me, mother to mother. The thing that most amazes me about Hannah is that her son was given at a young age, to Eli the priest, who wasn’t personally a successful father – his own sons were not godly men – and yet, as a young boy Samuel heard God’s voice. I believe Hannah used those few short years she had with Samuel to instill into his heart a love for God. Samuel was holy, he was set apart, he was separate from other boys his age. I don’t mean separate in that he had no friends, he was separate in his calling, in the way he lived his life.
Our children are to be the same.
When our children were little we had a Dedication service for each one. We gathered our family and friends, we prayed, we confirmed the scriptures and we committed ourselves to bring each one up in the ways of the Lord. Our friends committed themselves to supporting us in that task.
In doing so we made much the same decision as Hannah; dedicating our children to the Lord, and his plan for them. Year after year Hannah visited Samuel. I am sure that Samuel cried after his mother visited each year, especially while he was so young. It must have pulled at her heart strings and yet there was a bigger purpose at hand, one that Hannah, his mother, kept her focus on – Her promise to God; that her son would serve in the temple.
What is our response to our children’s tears? When they want something so badly that they keep pushing our buttons? Do we give in – wanting them to be happy? Or do we stand firm on our promise to God – that our child will be set apart, taught in God’s ways.