Did you know that you can influence what your children are passionate about? Do you enjoy sports? Is there a particular sports team that you follow? All my kids are Red Sox baseball fans (with the Chicago Cubs as a backup due to their mother). This did not happen by accident. I grew up in Connecticut and cheered for the Boston Red Sox with my dad. I wanted my kids to be Red Sox fans, too! They saw me excited as the Sox made the playoffs. They would watch the World Series games with me. I bought them all Sox shirts and hats. Even at two years old, my daughter Laynie loved wearing her David Ortiz T-shirt with “Little Papi” on the back of it.
Why did I go through such trouble to direct my children’s passion toward the Red Sox? It was not primarily because I wanted them to be fans of that team or that sport, but because I want them to love what I love and enjoy what I enjoy. As parents, we literally have the power to shape what our kids love. I intentionally did what I could to encourage them to love the Sox, and I succeeded. Our children’s hearts are likely to follow our hearts. Our children’s passions are likely to follow our passions.
God calls us to use the power and influence He has given us as parents to impress the hearts of our children with a love for Jesus. Having passion for a sports team is fine, but I need to ask myself, do my children see more passion in me for a sports team or for the Lord? Do they see me more excited when a game comes on TV or when we are preparing to head out to church? What message is sent if I excitedly jump out of my seat at a home run, but I look like I am just going through the motions when I sing praise to God during family worship or on Sunday mornings?
What do your children see you get most passionate about? Those are the things they know are most important to you. You can’t fake passion. If your heart is not eager for the things of the Lord, be honest with Him about that in prayer. You can be honest with your family, too.
Without a growing love for the Lord, we will not take the risk of sharing Jesus with our neighbors. Without a passion for the things of God, we will not take risks and build new relationships in our communities. It is our love for the Lord that ultimately drives us to want to share the good news of Jesus around the world. Let’s ask God to give us a great and growing love for Him, so that our children will love Him even more.