Dear Kevin

When my brother-in-law and his wife had their first child, we all signed a card for them, but I felt constrained by the small amount of space in which to write something meaningful. So I wrote this letter. I wanted to share it with you because I think it reflects my heart on raising kids...

Dear Kevin:

The congratulatory card stared back at me, mocking me with its small amount of white space available to write a few sentiments about your newborn son, Kaeden. How do you sum up the huge responsibility of parenting in one or two sentences? So I started jotting some notes on some scrap paper, and before I knew it I had a four point outline on the pattern for raising children that God gave us in Luke 2:52:

“And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and favor with God and man.”

This verse sums up 18 years of Jesus’ life. It spans from the time when he was in the temple at age 12 to the time he began his public ministry at about age 30. Eighteen years, the same amount of time we have with our kids before they become adults. I believe that if we follow this pattern we will be successful in raising our kids to be godly men and women. Here are some thoughts from the verse above to help you make the most of your time with Kaeden.

Wisdom—This addresses the intellect. As you know, it is more than filling young Kaeden’s mind with facts and knowledge. He needs the ability to think critically and apply God’s truth. Proverbs 24:3-4 says:

“By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with pleasant riches.”

Fill Kaeden’s mind with wonderful things. Read to him, not just children’s books, but older classics, like The Chronicles of Narnia, and the Bible—especially the Bible.

Stature—With a 6’6" dad, Kaeden probably won’t have much of a problem with this one... but it reminds us that you are responsible for Kaeden’s physical well being, which seems so obvious right now when he’s so tiny and helpless. The older he gets, the less he’ll depend on you for help in this area, but you’ll still teach him to walk, ride a bike, head a soccer ball into a goal (!), and drive a car. And you’ll continue to provide both for him and Ginger.

Favor with God—We are here on earth to glorify and serve God—not to be happy and do great things. The most important thing is to hear “well done, my good and faithful servant.” Fill your life and your house with the love of the Lord, and with scripture, and it will be natural for Kaeden to desire a relationship with Jesus. Apply Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

“Hear, O Israel, The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

I know it’s hard to think of Kaeden as being anything but perfect right now, but he is a son of Adam so he was born a sinner—critically flawed. If you teach him about God’s love, and the good news of Jesus, then he’ll learn how to deal with his sin. He’ll know who to take it to when he blows it, and will thrive under the grace of God.

Favor with man—This is a natural result of being successful at the other three. Raise Kaeden to love and forgive others, and to be genuinely concerned about their eternal life, and they will be drawn to him. Only two things on earth will last forever: people and the Word of God. Raise Kaeden to love both.

I encourage you to start now—praying and applying these principles that God has given us. Don’t put off spiritual training until later, or leave it in the hands of Sunday School or Christian school teachers. It is your job, as stated in Deuteronomy 6, to teach His Law diligently. We’ll be praying for you to persevere in that incredible task God has laid upon you and Ginger.