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Parenting the Virtuous Instead of the Viral

Parenting the Virtuous Instead of the Viral

I recently took a walk in a local park that hosts various sporting events. As I came across the outdoor space designed for inline skates, I saw a huge sign and large crowd. The sign announced a meeting for families interested in signing up their children for an inline hockey league. The crowd of parents and children that swelled around the sign was large and deeply engaged in the organizer’s presentation.

The faces in the crowd displayed eagerness, excitement, and joy at the prospect of engaging children with a sport they loved. As I reflected on these emotions, I couldn’t help but think about other things we want our children to love. Perhaps we also want them to love their grandma, friends, and local church, but such passion could be lacking in the face of a hectic sports agenda.

Let’s get real for a moment: There is nothing inherently wrong or sinful about having excitement or a passion for hockey, football, baseball, basketball, gymnastics, hiking, or tap dance, unless our passion drives us to a place of full worship of the worldly.

We obviously want our children to be happy and succeed. Consequently, we feel a need to provide them with opportunities to engage in sports and other extra-curricular activities. This means that our social media profiles are often packed with photos and videos that we hope go viral. We take pride in our friends recognizing the great accomplishments of our children, and love to hear all the messages of congratulation for an important victory, but I sometimes wonder at what cost.

Parents, grandparents, and church family let’s take a step back for a moment and ask ourselves if we are prioritizing the virtuous development of our children as much as we are the activities that make success go viral. Developing virtuous, or morally upright children who transition into virtuous adults capable of making solid and godly decisions about everything from how they spend their money to how they handle relationships and the temptation to sin, requires a focus on the Word and wisdom of the Savior.

Daily Bible reading, prayer, and joint family worship with believers in a local church is at the heart of developing virtuous young adults. Another way of putting it, is this: We get good kids when they spend time with their God. But I often fear our child’s time for God is crowded by the sign-up time for sports and all things spectacular that this world can offer.

This week let’s take a few moments to find our family priorities, and make sure that our greatest passion is developing virtuous children who love nothing more than being still before their creator, honoring Him with their time, attention, and heart’s passion. If our kids are going to go viral, then let’s make sure it’s with the life-changing Gospel story of Christ. Put the virtuous before the viral in all things family!

By: Dr. Lori Brown is a southern educator and writer who enjoys inspiring families to grow in their walk with the Savior.

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