Fighting For The Heart

two red boxing gloves

Back in October I spent the entire day on the Westside of Indianapolis for the 2013 Orange Tour produced by Orange. Orange is bigger than a conference or a curriculum. It’s a strategy that aligns the church and the family around the common purpose of pouring into a child’s spiritual life throughout their journey from adolescence to adulthood.

During the second session of the conference, Reggie Joiner, founder of Orange, made a comment that resonated with me. He said this:

We don’t fight to win the argument. We fight to win the heart! You can win the argument but lose the heart.

We spend a lot of time fighting with our children instead of fighting for our children! Can I just say… wow! I’m humbled by that as I think about myself and the season of parenthood that I am in.

It’s really true for all of us who are parents isn’t it? How often do we engage with our children in arguments because we want to win? How often do we wear them out with our lectures on showering properly, or making better grades, or following the household rules because we want to prove a point?

We make it our goal to change our children’s way of thinking without ever giving thought to the heart that beats inside of them. We fail to see that our time with them is limited. If you have a newborn, you only have 18 years. If you have a kindergardener, you only have about 13 years. If you have a Junior Higher (God bless you!) you only have 5 years. All in all, you and I have less than 20 years to fight for our kid’s hearts!

After experiencing the Orange Tour yesterday, I’m reminded that if we really want to succeed as a parents, we must fight for something bigger:

We must fight for connection!

As it is with any human-being, connection will be lost when there is not an intention to stay connected. How many times do we lose touch with someone we once had a strong relationship with, because we moved to different cities, stopped talking over the phone, stopped emailing, got busy with our lives, or began heading in different directions? Those things happen because there is a lack of intention. Connection happens when we intentionally choose to stay connected. We will stay connected to our kids when we intentionally fight to stay connected.

We must fight for relationship!

Relationship doesn’t just happen by accident. It must grow and be nurtured. It must be invested in. In the more than 15 years that I have worked with families, I cannot begin to tell you how many families I’ve spent time with who have lost relationship with one another. They’re just co-habitants in a house. Relationship takes fight. It’s a fight to stay together. It’s a fight for love.

We must fight for the future!

Our children are the future. They are the future world leaders, lawmakers, pastors, presidents, and CEO’s. They are the future elders of the church. By fighting for connection, and a relationship with them, we are shaping the future.

We must fight for the now!

Our children are the future, but they are also the now! I stood in front of about 500 teenagers a few weeks ago and said this- “I don’t believe you’re the church of tomorrow. I believe you’re the church of today!” Yes they will shape the future. And we as parents must invest in that. But let’s not forget that our children are also the now. My two pre-teen daughters have strong leadership skills right now. I can only imagine what that will look like in 5 or 10 years if my wife and I invest in them now!

We must fight to not lose their heart!

Reggie was right: we need to stop the fighting with our children to win an argument. We must fight to win their hearts. If we win every argument we have with our children but in the end, lose their heart, we have lost everything. We must fight to lead them to something bigger and more promising than anything this world offers to them.

As parents, it’s our calling and responsibility to lay everything on the line for our children. We do this for their physical well-being, their emotional security, but most importantly, their spiritual growth and transformation. It will not be easy. In fact, it will get harder before it gets easier. That’s a guarantee. But in the end, it is so worth it!

Question: What challenges have you experienced personally in this fight? What else would you add? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

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