Hoping the topic grabbed your attention and caused you to click in anger or agreement at this statement, lets drill down into what I mean.
The act of worship nowadays has taken a somewhat watered down meaning. In days gone by,we would associate the act of worship with falling down on ones knees, with hands lifted high, shouting words of praise. The action of worship will typically lead people to conjour up the picture of a religious event in their minds, where the worshiper looks outwards to someone or something in which he places his hope and trust and expresses how much he or she adores the object or subject of their worship.
Now, given this definition, I am quick to say that I am not suggesting we plant our knees firmly on the floor every morning and evening, and express to our children that they are our alpha and omega, the reason the earth turns, the source of all power and the point of all existence.
BUT!! Let me paint the world I find myself in. I have been counselling sons for a number of years and bar the ones who find themselves in places of hurt or difficulty due to parents dying or struggling with disease or addiction, the reason most boys are in need of some assistance, guidance or encouragement is because they are born into a world which in their minds would not miss them for a second should they disappear. From children as young as 6 who’s parents feel it is acceptable to outsource parenting to a nanny or maid as they pursue careers to teenagers who can’t remember the last time they were made to feel valuable. These boys find themselves in a place where, in the privacy of their silence they feel without a doubt that they do not matter, are not worthy and often blame themselves.
I’ve recently come across a piece of writing indicating the top 10 things we fail at as parents. Listed is our failure to stop ourselves from worshipping our kids. The statement confuses me as in my experience, most of the challenges children are facing come not from them being overvalued, but rather undervalued.
Are my children God’s? Obviously not, at no point has either of them them been able to part their bath waters, increase the contents of the sweet jar or pray their teddy bears or lego soldiers in real people. Are they by far the most valuable gift I have ever been blessed with? Absolutely! Do I withhold affirmation just incase they get a glimpse of their importance in their fathers eyes, or do I have a level of adoration and love I can give them after which no more may be given? Am I of the opinion that they are the most important things in my life? Without a doubt!
Now don’t let your God fearing, Abraham and Isaac definition of parenting get you all bent out of shape. You can still have careers, hobbies and aspirations apart from your kids, but listen to what I am saying. From the moment of conception, yes conception, you are given an amazing gift. You have the choice to keep that gift, return it, speak life or death over it, protect, nourish or abuse it, and this is is all before birth. After birth, we have these amazing little people on loan to us for the better part of 20 years, thereafter, whatever we have taught, sowed, built in, will either advantage them or disadvantage them. Their victory is ours, their honour is ours just as the harvest is attributed to the farmer and the vine, so will our children’s accomplishments be attributed to us or for some inspite of us.
So in a world of technology and in a language which chooses to describe the love of a family, lover, child and piece of chocolate cake in one word, let me encourage you to worship your children under this definition of worship.
To worship means to show love, to show thankfulness for, to show adoration to, to establish value and worth, to reassure, to encourage, to establish value, to remind of significance, to guard, to guide and to establish a sense that the object of this worship is deserving of worship regardless of what they have or have not done.
Sounds a lot like love to me, so perhaps the problem is, we’ve stopped loving and justified it by calling it worship and therefore withholding it is ok, after all they’re not gods, they are just God’s.