Blessed are those whose hearts are pure. They will see God.
After ninety minutes, the soccer game had moved into penalty kicks. Two rounds and the score was still tied. One last player stood poised well back of the ball. He took a running start and launched the ball toward the net. The goalie dove to the left but his defense was no match for the boy’s offense and…goooooal! Teammates poured off the sidelines and thumped him on the back like the hero he was.
The player—that would be MY boy—was hot, sweaty, and beaming with pride—just like his mom. Nothing beats some summer defense-offense and cheering for the one you love.
When it comes to parenting pure kids, a little defense-offense sports analogy has a lot to offer. It’s a great way to explain the strategy behind raising kids who are pure in a culture that’s not.
It makes no sense for the Dallas Cowboys to have a great offense with no defense or have a great defensive line with no offense. But that’s what a lot of parents do; they focus on one and forget the other. A team–your family team–has to have both!
OFFENSE: a strategy to advance the ball and score on your opponent.
This is what you DO want, the truth messages you want your child to take to heart and cling to more tightly than a running back to the football. No fumbles.
Purity isn’t…what you wear, what you watch, what you read, what you listen to, what you talk about. It isn’t a set of rules. Purity is a heart issue.
To be pure in heart means to be completely single-minded and focused. Someone who’s pure of heart lives for one audience alone—Jesus. There’s no room for wondering, “But what will my friends think?” “But what about what I want?” “Well, everyone else is doing.” Because there’s only one Person who matters.
If that’s the case, it makes sense to spend more time nurturing your child’s personal relationship with God than imposing rules. It isn’t that guidelines are wrong; they’re necessary. But trying to change the outside while something different is bubbling inside is counterproductive. Your child’s relationship with God is more important than anything!
Made in the image of God and deeply loved. Your child is unique from the rest of God’s creation–even the dogs, kitties and animals they love–because they were made in God’s image. They were designed to love God and have relationship with him.
Every inch of their skin, lock of their hair, curve of their body is a gift God made. Treat themselves (body, mind, etc.) like the gift it is.
Love others. When you love others, you set aside your interests and put them first. It’s not about what you can wear, what you want, but if what you’re doing is considerate of others.
Marriage between a man and a woman is one of God’s greatest inventions. [Parents, you don’t even need to mention sex here.] It’s a pattern that can’t be improved on. Why? Because marriage is based on who God is. Three perfectly unique persons that are perfectly united. Different but solidly one.
Everything you do as a parent can reinforce these messages or chip away at their foundation. How you talk to your kids, how you talk about your kids in front of others. What you say when you’re exasperated or happy or sad can affirm these messages or erode them.
DEFENSE: A strategy to resist attack and block opponent from scoring.
This focuses on what you DON’t want to happen. It’s the strategy you and your child put in place to prevent something.
Defense is where typical rules come in. Guidelines about…
personal space and touch.
cell phone and internet use.
What not to wear.
What to watch. What not to watch.
What you can read.
During one episode of Duck Dynasty, Willie Roberts takes his daughter Sadie dress shopping. Big mistake. Sadie comes out in short hot pink dress with spaghetti straps. He frowns.
“Is there something wrong with this?” Sadie asks.
“Yeah, there’s not enough material.”
“Dad, I really like this!”
“Sadie, it doesn’t have a top. It’s a dress that’s only halfway done. We wear clothes to cover our things…all our things. We need full coverage…Think defense, Sadie.”
And he’s got a point.
I’m not going to give you a list of suggested guidelines. But here are two questions you can ask to help determine what those guidelines should be:
- Is what my child is (doing, saying, reading, watching, wearing, etc.) communicating a message of purity and modesty? (If you’re the parent of a girl, please ask a trusted friend who’s the parent of a guy.) The clothing your son or daughter wears (books they read, shows they watch) sends a message. What message are they sending?
- Is what my child is (doing, saying, wearing, watching, etc.) helping those around her or him to be pure and making it easier for them to be pure? Is it building them up?
- Does the guideline I have in place reinforce God’s love for them, their being made in the image of God, and a love for others?
Last year college athletics programs spent 1 million a year recruiting top players. Remember the movie Blindside? Colleges fiercely battled it out to recruit Michael Oher. They knew the value of getting a solid player on their football team.
The same goes for parenting pure kids. You can’t do it alone; it takes teamwork. You need to recruit—think proactive looking and asking—top quality, godly people for your team. It isn’t something that’s going to happen naturally. Relying on your youth pastor or even kids’ small group leader isn’t going to cut it. They may love your kids but there’s one of them to many students. You need everyday moms and dads who your own kids will look up to.
Why? My girlfriend can say something to her kids and they sigh, “Mom!” But I can say the same thing and they listen up. The older your kids get, the more this will happen. So recruit godly mentors. Have them in place well before you need them.
- Start teaching your kids young. It’s never too early to learn purity offense and defense.
- Times change, hearts don’t. As years go by, fashion changes, media changes. What used to be scandalous is very acceptable. You can hardly expect your kid to dress like they walked out of the early nineteenth century or cut them them off from social media. Just remember that hearts don’t change. Own natural flesh are self-centered and evil.
- Consistency counts. Are you consistent as a parent? What you say with what you do. What you teach with what you watch. I can’t understand how on one hand a dad wants their son to be pure and respect women but on the other hand they watch TV that portrays women as anything but.
What’s one offense strategy you could put into play now?
How would you do it?
What one defensive strategy you could put into play now?
Who do you have on your team?
If you don’t have anyone, who could you recruit?