The Most Important Things: Reflections of an Empty Nester

  • The Most Important Things: Reflections of an Empty Nester
The Most Important Things: Reflections of an Empty Nester

The other day as I was playing with my grandsons I thought how quickly the last 30 years have gone by. It's hard to believe so much time has passed since their mother, my oldest daughter Meg, was a toddler.

When I was a young mother the days seemed endless. It was as if there was an unending supply of them. And I was sure there would always be so much time to be with my children. Time to teach, time to play, time to nurture, and impart values. I never imagined one day the nest would be empty.

Looking back I see what a delusion that was. One of Satan's greatest lies is that there is no urgency in life. He fools us into thinking there will always be plenty of time in the future to explain to our little ones about God, salvation, and the Bible. When they get bigger, when they can understand more, when the house is clean. That's a lie.

Here's the truth: There is indeed a great urgency. Each day we have with our children matters.

There is a short, time-sensitive window of opportunity to train them and instil God's truth in their hearts.

If your children are young, imagine them 15 or 20 years from now, as adults in a very complex world. No longer under your roof, they will be drawing upon what you have taught them to navigate through life. As you envision them in that future scene, think about the important things you need to teach your children now to enable them to become well-adjusted, secure, and confident adults.

It's not enough to simply live a decent life and hope your moral standards will rub off on your children. Successful parenting goes much deeper. Successful parenting is intentional.

It is intentional in the day-to-day living out of biblical principles. This may sound like a regimented way of raising kids but it's just the opposite. The Bible says it's in the spontaneity and joy of daily life that teaching about God happens:

“Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night.” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 MSG)

A simple way to start the teaching process is with a Bible verse. Choose one verse, put it on the fridge, and make it the focus for the week. Ephesians 4:29 is a good example, “Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.” What a wealth of discussion material in just one verse—the importance of thinking before speaking, using words to glorify God, and the power of words to encourage. No matter what age your children, they're never too young to learn God's commands regarding their speech.

There are teachable moments every day. As you drive to soccer practice, eat supper, do homework, in celebration or sorrow, sickness or health, failure or success, God is in every single moment. He longs for your kids to know Him and trust Him with their every breath. As you seek God's wisdom He will show you what your kids need to know. And it's all there in the Bible, just waiting for you to glean.

Believe me, far too quickly the parenting years are over and the nest is empty. Intentionally teaching your children the truth of God's Word nurtures their souls, helps them to know who they are, and equips them to live confidently and securely.