It started when he was an infant. His dad hung a football mobile over his crib and supplied him with a plush pigskin for a cuddle toy.
This father had a big dream for his boy. He was determined for him to succeed as a football star.
That meant no ice cream at birthday parties for this boy; he needed the best nutrition. It meant endless drills and devoted discipline.
In the end, the boy indeed excelled at the game. I don’t recall how well-known he became — I read this true story years ago –but here’s what I do remember.
This son deeply resented his father for turning him into a surrogate success. The dream was not about the boy; it was about the father.
Most parents wouldn’t go to such extremes in pushing their own selfish desires on their kids. But there’s another mistake we can make in raising children.
We can live out our parenting years in survival mode — and fail to dream for our children at all.
Good parenting requires being purposeful. It requires paying attention to the moment, and to the season, you are in.
It’s good to have dreams for your children. God has dreams for them! The trick is to tune into his dreams.
While on that note, let’s chat about this “You can be anything you want to be if you believe in yourself” nonsense so prevalent in our culture. This is the mantra of the self-esteem movement, and there’s just one teeny problem with it.
It’s totally not true.
Your child was created by God with certain gifts and abilities. God timed it so that he or she is living in just the right time and place in human history.
God knows exactly who your child is supposed to become. He did not create everyone to become whatever entered their mind … he made them for his specific plans and purposes.
As a parent who follows Jesus, you get to participate in God’s plan for your child. As his dream unfolds, you get to pay attention to what that is.
You get to pray into it. You get to instill God’s values into your child’s heart.
Have you considered asking God what his dreams are for your son or daughter?
Here’s a reassuring hint: God is most interested in who we are as people, not what we do for a living.
I’m not suggesting that you agonize about what profession or ministry your child will do in the future … I’m saying pray over them, work at shaping their character, and pay attention to their unique gifts and abilities as those become evident.
Dreaming with God means imagining your children as the people he’s called them to be.
Here are some basic ways to dream with God for your child. Pray and participate with God so your child:
- comes to love and serve Jesus
- is not ruled by sin, but empowered by grace
- demonstrates love to others
- is obedient to you so he/she learns obedience to God
- is a critical thinker, not swayed by the influence of our anti-gospel culture
Those are some great dreams, right? Imagine your child exhibiting these qualities …
” … the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. ” — Galatians 5:22
Here’s the thing: It’s okay for your son to excel at football (or your daughter at engineering). But the most important dream you can dream for them is that they become uncompromising followers of Jesus.
The rest of their destiny will fall into place.