Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Listen to the Podcast:
Helping Your Kids Grow in Character, Wisdom, Relationships and Health: Raising a Luke 2:52 Kid, Episode 14.
Or Read the Blog:
Do you ever feel discouraged and overwhelmed by all of the imperfections in yourself? All of the ways you need to be growing and changing?
HOW GOD PARENTS US
Have you noticed He'll give you opportunity after opportunity to grow in a certain area? It's as if He wants us to really learn it well through repetition. God really only points out to us a few of the things that we need to be working on at a time. I just believe that God limits how much He shows us of areas that we could work on in ourselves because He doesn't want us to feel overwhelmed and discouraged. He wants us to zero in, focus in on a few of those things and be working on changing a few of those at a time.
That's the way God fathers us and I believe it's a good way to foster some intentional growth in our own children as well. Twenty some years ago, I began doing what I call, "Raising a Luke 2:52 Kid."
Luke 2:52 talks about the four main ways that Jesus grew as a child. I began looking at those four areas and setting a goal for each one of those parts of my kids' lives. I would do it about twice a year, generally as I planned their semester - both academic semester and extra-curricular semester. I would take some really focused, prayerful time brainstorming. I'd pray for a new perspective and a new game plan for the next six months on how I was going to parent my child.
So let's look at the verse. Luke 2:52 says, referring to when Jesus was a child, “And Jesus grew in WISDOM, STATURE, FAVOR with GOD, and FAVOR with MAN." (NIV)
I’ve used this verse for many years to set goals and get a simple game plan in place twice a year regarding my kids in the following four categories:
"Wisdom is the application of knowledge"
"Stature refers to physical skill and health"
"Favor with Man means manners and relationships" "Favor with God refers to a growing relationship with God"
1. “Wisdom” – Knowledge, Academics, and the Pursuit of Truth
When I'm thinking of my kids learning things in school, I don't want them to just take in information. I want them to know how to apply it effectively in a variety of situations. Wisdom is when we know how to apply information effectively. While wisdom is the application of knowledge, I try to pick a wisdom goal that is knowledge-focused, such as an Academic Goal. I might identify a weakness I see that they need extra time to work on in this area? It could be handwriting, memorizing multiplication tables, or learning how to research topics. Or I might know a strength that I see in them that I want to foster extra time in this area? Maybe they love studying astronomy or have had questions about music theory.
If I'm feeling ambitious in the goal-setting session, I'll pick out one strength and one weakness in each of the four areas. These become my goals for how I want to help them GROW in the next six months.
If this is too overwhelming to select a strength and a weakness in each of the categories, I just select EITHER a strength or a weakness to work on.
2. "STATURE" – Physical Ability and Good Health
What is a weakness in their physical ability or health? It could be that they don’t have good posture or don’t drink enough water or they need to eat more veggies. What is a physical strength you see in them? You could have noticed that they’re really good at ball handling. Or maybe they have an interest in art and you want to hone that physical ability.
3. “Favor with Man” – People Skills/ Manners/ Relationships Goal
For most of us, people skills are one of the top determiners of our life’s success both personally and professionally. The ability to interact with others effectively is critical to countless aspects of our lives. In this goal-setting session, I seek to identify my child’s weaknesses in how they interact with others and am evaluate if they have healthy relationships with others.
What type of difficulty does your child have in communicating with others -such as a shyness, poor enunciation, lack of confidence, not giving eye contact, etc? Is there a relationship that is especially in need of mending with your child? What are some ways you can teach them how to begin healing that strained relationship?
4. "Favor with God"– Soul Goal, Character Goal.
Favor with God is recognizing who God is and who we are to Him, and who we were created to be. It's learning how to stay connected with God each day and throughout the day. It's doing life together with Him!
Does your child have a personal relationship with Jesus? What do you see as a weakness in their character that you should be praying about for them and creating opportunities for them to develop regarding that area? What is a passion about God that you could foster – such as missions, or caring about the elderly or helping with babies?
I try to pick one weakness and one strength in each of these four categories which ends up being eight goals about my kids for the next six months. Some years, I am not able to make eight goals and just pick one thing from each category.
Discovering Your Child by Partnering with Their Creator
Before I begin my goal-setting session, I start with prayer. Pray to our all knowing God and ask him for guidance about the goals you're about to set. He created our kids. He knows them so much better than we do. You know, our kids, they're a mystery to us, aren't they? It's an exciting journey to discover our kids and it's one that is challenging, but it's rewarding and is exciting. When we get really hooked on discovering all the aspects about our kids, wow; that is when we really start shining as a parent! Think of a teacher that you've had in childhood. Wasn't it the one that was motivated and excited about the discoveries of whatever subject they were teaching you about? If they were teaching English, they had discovered different books that were wonderful. They had discovered that linguistics is interesting. They had discovered that the order of grammar is exhilarating! (You know, they're just that type). Or if you had a history teacher who had discovered all these neat things about history and they're so excited about what they've discovered.