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Podcast & Blog Post: "Raising a Luke 2:52 Kid"- Character, Wisdom, Health, and Relationships, too!

Updated: Jun 16, 2020

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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?


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.

As a parent, if we can get excited about discovering all the different aspects about our kids, then we'll be inspiring them, helping them have a vision for their own lives and helping them to navigate the world based on their strengths and weaknesses and giftings and mannerisms and abilities, and so, so many things. There's love languages and the personality types, the Enneagram, their spiritual gifts, and their talents also! There's so many different ways to discover our kids!

Our Heavenly Father designed them, created them, and He already knows all of the facets of who they are. He also knows where they've been. He knows about the places in their heart that they've never talked to you about and He also knows about their future. So He is the one to go to to get information and guidance on how to parent these kids. And so He is my first stop every day in raising them and in discovering them. In this process of Raising a Luke 2:52 Kid, He's my first stop in helping me figure out what goals I want to set for them. Allow God to lead you to the best goals for your child this semester. Pick one goal per category, the four categories that I mentioned, wisdom, stature, favor with God, favor with man. Then pray throughout the semester about these goals. Ask God to provide opportunities for your child to grow in these areas. Ask God to help you remain alert for times when you can praise your child's improvements in these areas. After all, praise what you want to become permanent.

Once I've Set the Goals, Then What?

Once you've identified the goals you're going to set, it's time to make a plan to implement some ways for your child to practice each of these goals. I'll look for books and audio books on the topics. I'll try to think of people who would be good inspirations in that area. I plan discussions and activities. But most of all, I pray that God would keep me alert and tuned-in to the opportunities and ideas that He will bring throughout the semester to help them grow in these identified ways.

I don’t always share the list with my kids.  It just depends on whether I think their knowing about each item would HELP or HINDER their growth in that area, which varies by child and by item.Then, some summers, when I really have my act together, I show this Bible verse to my kids and have them set their own goals in these categories for the summer.  One of the greatest success tools we can give our kids is goal setting and self-examination.  Teach your kids to pray before they begin goal-setting, while they’re goal setting and making a plan, and while they work to implement the plan as you want them to always be seeking first God’s kingdom and His righteousness in all their endeavors.

Val's Resource for Raising a Luke 2:52 Kid:

The Practically Speaking MOM’s Family Favorites List of God-Us Relationship Building/Worldview Audios and Videos – For Younger: What’s in the Bible series by the original creator of Veggie Tales,

– For Older:

True U (link is to watch FREE on Amazon Prime) from the Creators of Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project Drive

-For Upper Elementary and older: Drive Thru History

-For All Ages: The Bible Project (FREE videos)

Who is God and Can I really Know Him? (this is the first book in a fantastic series that is engaging for all ages, by far my most favorite book series of all family books. It's also available as an mp3. The books are hard cover and beautiful pictures. We buy both the books and the audio. My ten year old daughter listens to them over and over.) Moody Science Classics,  anything by Brian Young (he might occasionally believe a little differently from me, but he has fascinating animal and science facts that my kids really enjoy) or anything from Masterbooks (some of these are affiliate links)

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Val Harrison, The Practically Speaking MOM, is a mom to seven plus three in-law kids and two grandchildren. If you would like more from Val, you can follow her blog and podcast or find her books and other resources at Here's the direct link to her podcast.

Join in the discussion on Facebook. Val's page is Practically Speaking MOM. There you'll see announcements, encouragement, and ideas). If you'd like to participate in Val's private group for regular interaction, Facebook Lives, LOTS of ideas, discussion about each week's topic, and to encourage each other, join our private Facebook group Intentional Mom, Strong Family.



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