Engaging Your Children With Story and History

We Inherit History

"Sally, do you ever wish there were some men who could tell your boys stories of great accomplishments, or mentor them in godly character--maybe at a place of work, or in serving others in ministry? Or women who have sacrificed their lives to build a legacy of faith and love in their family? I feel like there is no one who can show my children how to be courageous, self-sacrificing, humble, strong.I just wish I had more real live examples."

This from a friend whose children are entering the teen years.

I hear this often--where are the men willing to disciple and mentor, the women who are willing to teach me how to be effective. I long for someone to talk to in real life."

I hear this all the time. How we need to see people--us--stepping up to the bat to be strong for God so others will have a model to follow.

The eleventh chapter of Hebrews pays tribute to men and women—Abel, Abraham, Sarah, David, and many others—who lived in the warp and woof of life’s trials but, instead of giving in to the cultural norms of compromise, kept their eyes on heaven and lived exceptional lives. They made decisions to trust God in all the hard places, and as a result “God is not ashamed to be called their God” (verse 16).

These are people who made the story of the Bible worth knowing, the men and women who set a pattern for us to follow. They are our spiritual heroes—and we are called to follow in their footsteps.

We hear a lot about heroes these days, mostly in terms of specific acts of physical or emotional bravery. We celebrate soldiers and firefighters and get excited about civilians who pull strangers from burning vehicles. We love to watch movies about “good guys” fighting “forces of evil” on a grand scale and superheroes with special powers. Such tales of heroism can be entertaining and even inspiring. But they often give a limited and skewed picture of what it really means to be a hero.

Biblical heroism starts with a passion to love and serve God through actions, stewardship, relationships, and obedience. Often, they go unnoticed. True heroes are in the habit of serving others because they are compelled to give of themselves as Jesus gave. They are motivated to endure and do good not only in big, climactic battles but also in the grind of everyday living. And when a sacrifice is required, when the need to lay down one’s life for another comes along, true heroes are not surprised; they have already been imagining this to be their service of worship to God.

 I fear, our culture is deficient in that kind of hero. I recently found myself in a meeting with a group of high- level business leaders.

The conversation centered on new recruits from universities, many of whom were already in a position to make important decisions. I can still remember an elderly executive, an advisor for and recruiter of many of these newest team members, who shared his unvarnished thoughts.

The problem, he said, was that most younger college graduates who were applying for these positions were ill prepared to take on such responsibility. “They have not read broadly on many subjects and haven’t developed a strong worldview. Their image of themselves does not include hard work, sacrifice, or perspective from others who have gone before to lay a legacy of faithfulness. Their work can be sloppy, their initiative is non-existent, and laziness is a norm. As a consequence, they have almost no historical perspective of what character was in generations gone by.

Because they are media dependent,” he added, these kids “are subject to believing popular views espoused by that media.

Because they have been raised on quick sound bites and insubstantial TV ‘wisdom,’ their opinions are shallow and reactionary. Thinking clearly, synthesizing high-minded ideas, developing an appetite for substantial literature, immersing themselves in the works of great, classical thinkers—not only are these things not part of their daily habits; they are as good as alien to them. Add to that a lack of character training and an inability to do hard work through difficult seasons, and you will find it almost impossible to find an excellent candidate for work who can handle such important responsibilities.”

I fear that this executive’s words are accurate about many young adults now emerging into broader culture. While there is more information available for the taking than at any other time in history, there seems to be less understanding of truth than ever before. Few young adults of this generation seem to have been captured by the call to be true heroes in their own lives.

Scripture talks often about the perils of neglecting to guide a child. Many are easily led as sheep to moral or spiritual slaughter, so to speak, because they have never been taught to examine their values or think for themselves.

Ignorance and mental weakness bring poverty of soul and set people on a dangerous course.

When adults lack character, their children have little chance of developing it themselves. But the opposite is also true. The home, in fact, is the ideal training ground for heroes.

Mother's roles are more important than ever. They are the hero shapers, those who guide the values of their children, inspire them with great stories, train them to have the character that perseveres through temptation and trials.

Scripture commands us to love God with our whole being—heart and soul and mind (Matthew 22:37).

Mothers train hearts to love God, to have a heart for others in need

Mothers fill souls with treasures of truth, wisdom, discretion from Biblical wisdom.

Mothers capture their children's minds with great ideas, classical history, strong world views based on truth.

Where mothers are committed to shaping children into biblical servants and courageous believers, there will be hope in every generation for those who will pass on righteousness, carry on Kingdom work.

Today, your labor has eternal significance. May God give you vision for hero-shaping in your home.

(Some of this was excerpted from The Life Giving Home Experience)

And don't forget, buy your Own Your Life Books today. I am starting a new podcast series for the summer on Own Your Life to refresh and inspire you in your vision for life during this season. Kindle edition is on sale through Sunday.