We cleaned out my oldest daughter's closet yesterday. I was amazed at the number of things we got rid of. She is definitely growing up. To some degree, it makes me sad that we're cleaning out a lot of the toys in her room. The Polly Pockets and the Littlest Pet Shop toys are in a pile to be sold at the upcoming consignment sale. We have a stack of stuffed animals that are going, too. Those toys have been replaced with sketch pads and drawing tools, Nintendo DS games and craft supplies.
As they mature physically, our children begin to outgrow childish things. Their interests change and they choose new things that hold their interests. If we kept every toy and book my kids have ever owned, we wouldn't have room for anything new. My kids would be stuck with things that no longer hold their interest, things that don't fit their maturity level, and things that don't help them stretch and grow.
The same is true as we mature spiritually, as well. As our children grow, we need to give them more spiritual meat just like we switch out their toys and books. If we continue to give our children a steady diet of simple truths and don't begin to add in meatier topics, we don't give our children the wisdom and understanding they need to navigate the more complex world around them.
1 Corinthians 13:11 says "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me." Paul understood that part of following Christ is growing in our wisdom and knowledge of Him. As we mature spiritually, we become more like Jesus. If we refuse to grow spiritually, then God can't use us in the way He would like.
I'm not encouraging you to push your children to grow up before they are ready. I think the world does enough of that for us, but when your children are ready to tackle some tougher issues like why bad things happen, how to deal with difficult people or sex, don't hold them back by not giving them the spiritual wisdom they need. If we don't guide our children through the rough waters of maturing, they'll find someone who will. And we might not like what those other people have to say.
Help your children grow. Help them understand what God has to say about the tough subjects.
- Educate yourself on those tough topics before your kids get there. Read up on what the Bible has to say. Seek wisdom from other Christ-following parents who have already walked the road you're on.
- When they begin to ask questions, answer them at an age-appropriate level. Don't ignore the topic or your kids may decide you're not someone they can talk to about tough topics.
- Always rely on the Scriptures as the base source for wisdom. No matter what some parenting book or blog has to say about a topic, if it doesn't line up with Scripture, it's not worth using.
- Be open to talking about anything even if it makes you uncomfortable. If your kids are asking questions about a topic, they already know something about it. You have an opportunity to help form their opinions on the topic. Don't pass it up.