We’ve already determined some characteristics of Rescuers here. We decided we don’t have to be perfect Rescuers ourselves, but that we need the heart, desire and effort to get in the game. Before we talk about Raising Rescuers, let’s talk about what Rescuing looks like in our world today.
Rescuing efforts can be both large and small scale. Helping someone pay their phone bill or driving someone to the doctor might seem minor in light of saving a person from sex slavery or adopting an orphan. As important as the grand scale Rescue efforts are, the little rescues are often what keeps us going in the hard times. I remember when it was a friend’s birthday and my husband and I were volunteering for a Christian charity, a.k.a. we were broke, yo. We decided it was worth the money to go out and celebrate because we’d committed to attend. Off we went. The meal was around $50 and tasted bittersweet in our mouths. We came home and I was feeling remorseful that we’d spent that amount of money (that may seem chump change to you but on our budget it was excessive). The next morning I woke up, opened the door to go to work and – lo and behold – there was an envelope with $50 in it. No one knew our situation. No one knew I’d gone to sleep thinking Jamie Oliver’s pasta was not, in fact, all it was cracked up to be. God had laid it on someone’s heart to bless us and, boy, bless us it did. $50 is nothing when God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, but to us, that little Rescue money was a way for God to speak to us. It meant more than you might think.
With our children it’ll most likely be the small ways of Rescuing that we are able to model in a way they understand. We know God is in the business of Raising Rescuers, so what does that look like?
1) Raising Rescuers means focusing on our children’s character. Children with strong characters will be better positioned to carry weight and responsibility as adults. Though we aren’t perfect and we ourselves have our own strengths and weaknesses, there are a few qualities we can try to instil in our children and, if we struggle with them ourselves, then it’s all the more reason for us to do it as a family. Some good strong character traits: being a finisher starter, honesty, integrity, generosity, ability to handle delayed gratification, thoughtfulness, kindness and humility, to name a few. There are many others and we need not beat ourselves over the head about it. But, if we focus on building these qualities then, in small situations, we will remember it and can take the opportunity to train and instruct our children where we may previously have glossed over it.
2) It means following God’s word and plan for your life so you model Jesus Christ. Jesus said He did what He saw His father doing. Again, none of us are perfect. Anyway, if we were, we wouldn’t need Jesus. But if our children see us doing our best to follow God’s Word and apply it in our daily lives then they will be far more likely to do the same. Personally, at the end of the day, if all I can say about my parenting is that my children have chosen to follow Jesus Christ, I’ll think I’ve succeeded.
3) Giving your children a biblical worldview. Life is not easy. Life is not perfect. Life is not always fun. Things are not always fair. Tragedy happens. Okay, that was a downer. Having said that, Jesus Christ came to shine light in the darkness. Teaching your children a proper worldview will help prevent them having a hard dose of reality when they set out on their own outside of your comfort and shelter. Jesus said there will be trouble in this world, BUT, He has overcome the world. If we lead our children to believe that things will always be rosy then, when life hits them hard, it might be difficult for them to believe that God is real. Giving them a real yet biblical worldview will create a place for them to hope and thrive in God’s Will as opposed to fighting it or abandoning it altogether.
4) Teaching our Rescuers practical skills. Even if you don’t know how to do things you want your children to learn, that’s okay. You guys can learn together! Did you have to call a plumber over? Why not ask him if he wouldn’t mind spending a few minutes explaining what he’s doing to your children. Plumbers I’ve known (granted, I was from the south and we are particularly friendly) would have thought it a pleasure. If you can sew, cook, clean, organize, etc. just try to find time to bring your children alongside you. This is probably obvious but, if you’re like me (and I sincerely hope you are not) then you sometimes want to avoid letting them help or learn because it simply takes too much time. Teaching kids what we know and learning things together will give children confidence in their own abilities to manage themselves. Only when we are confident in our own abilities will we be willing to use them to serve others.
5) Praising heroes, instilling courage and encouraging Rescue efforts. What you value will be apparent to your children. They are smart, and they will pick up on the things you appreciate. If they see that you appreciate kindness they will want to be kind. If they see you appreciate pictures, they will want to color you pictures. One way to show how much you appreciate heroic efforts and rescue attempts is simply to tell stories to your children of this. When I tell bedtime stories (which I don’t do often since we read) I try to think of bold rescue efforts and tales of caring for others. I praise the characters and put my children in the stories as the heroes and heroines. They are still too young to understand but I enjoy it! When you hear of stories that show true courage, share them with your children. Sooner or later they will see that this is something to be valued.
We don’t have to be perfect to be used by God. Our children don’t have to have perfect parents to turn out all right (thank God for that!). Our children do, however, need parents who intentionally and purposefully mould their little characters so they can best and most effectively accomplish God’s plan for their lives.
No matter if our children become doctors, lawyers, indian chiefs or teachers, businessmen or carpenters, Rescuing is not career specific. A Rescuer need not have a certain IQ, come from a certain socioeconomic status, or be really great at sports. Rescuers are Rescuers because of their heart. A Rescuers heart goes out looking for those whom it can serve, save, and point to Jesus Christ. It’s not scared to go where the danger is to save those in peril. It doesn’t consider himself or herself above certain people, places or situations. A Rescuer is willing and able to do what he or she sees the Father doing.
Let’s Raise Rescuers. Let’s figure out how together.
PS – Want to Raise Rescuers with me? Come back on Friday to find out how.