Monday, June 03, 2013

Parental Vision

Recently I spent some quality time studying the book of Proverbs, and it is amazing how something you have read dozens of times can still speak to you as if you've never seen or heard it before.  One particular passage, that is very familiar, took on a new angle for me. 

"Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint..." -  Proverbs 29:18 ESV

Back before my ESV days, I remember the NIV text saying that where there was no vision the people perished.  Those are some pretty serious consequences for a lack of vision.  As a result, I've often used this verse as fuel to rally whatever organization I'm working with to embrace a big vision.  The newness of this verse, however, has to do with the context.  This chapter in Proverbs is a lot about parenting and raising children, and this vision verse is right in the middle of it.  It began to sink in that this is a verse about raising kids. 

Kids are a big part of our life.  We have three of our own, and we spend a great deal of time mentoring or leading after school programs that our church is a part of to reach out to at-risk kids in our community.  Adopting our girls took us to a world where there was pretty much nothing but the casting off of restraint.  Surviving trumps everything where there was no vision. We see it in the kids in our community who are struggling to survive as well.  There doesn't seem to be  room for dreams or vision when reality is overpowering. 

Even in kids who don't have a lot to overcome, I wonder if the daily grind of school, homework, self-centered extra-curricular activities, repeat is robbing them of the vision they need to not cast of restraint.  Do they have an identify of their own in what they are going with most of their time?

Out of this verse, I was convicted that I'm not imparting enough vision into my own kids' lives.  I'm so focused on day-to-day functionality and obedience that I don't spend enough time prophesying and dreaming with my kids.  When they are older, will their time with me reflect more that they can make their bed and follow rules or will they be able to see their role in God's great story and follow Him faithfully for all of their days?

Over the years I've become a fan of how Donald Miller tells stories, and more recently how Bob Goff does the same.  Donald Miller tells a story of painting a picture of living a bigger story for a teenage girl who was struggling in this book.  Bob Goff talks a lot about including his kids into living great stories in this book.   These are just examples of what I feel like Proverbs is leading us into parents. 

We should be the first ones to dream big and pray prophetic visions over our kids (and for any kids around us really).  We shouldn't force them only into the mold of what we expect them to be, but we should pray and lead them into everything God created them to be.  Without vision or dreams, they'll coast into a life of survival and peer acceptance that will be the equivalent of perishing. 

Norman & Grace helping our kids dream...


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