So what did Brent and Deanna Higgins learn from the tragic experience of losing their son BJ? Brent and Deanna have graciously offered to share the lessons they learned with us.
Stay in the Word and in prayer if you expect your children to do so. Too many times, parents expect that the youth pastor is going to grow their children. You can’t expect your kids to live a lifestyle you’re not.
Be sure you have a firm answer from God before you respond to your child about a request. For example, when BJ first wanted to serve overseas, our initial answer was “no,” but that was a knee-jerk reaction. Parents must be careful to hear from the Holy Spirit and not respond out of pure protectiveness or emotion.
If at all possible, have a regular devotional time with your family. This should include prayer, not just rote prayer but significant time with God. This teaches kids how to pray and encourages them in their walk with the Lord
Arrange to have dinner together as a family as often as you can. This gives you an opportunity to share as a family and also allows you to listen to your children. Kids won’t spill unless parents are willing to listen.
Don’t be afraid to let your children fail. Sometimes kids need to try things and learn that failure is a part of life. They need all kinds of experiences as they move into adulthood.
Encourage your children to be bold in their faith. Do activities as a family—mission trips and other projects—that require boldness. Encourage them to be involved in opportunities to share their faith.
Listen, listen, and listen to your children. We say this humbly because we learned from our mistakes. Often your kids are telling you things by what they don’t tell you. (See the note about having dinner together above).
When discouraging things happen, don’t remove your child’s opportunities to obey God. Your child’s relationship with God should never be used as a weapon. Opportunities for fellowship(youth group, etc.) shouldn’t be contingent on “good” behavior.
If you make a commitment, follow through. If your child makes a commitment, help him or her follow through on it, too. The lesson here: your faithfulness sets an example for others.
Practice what you preach to your children. Demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit through your love, kindness, etc. Although we weren’t (and aren’t) perfect parents, we tried to follow through in our lives with the things we taught our kids.
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