Going the Extra Mile

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“I have a great son, who is responsive to me and loving—but he is spending 6 hours a day playing computer games! My friends told me that is normal and just to leave him alone and know it is just boy stuff. What do you think?”

This from a sweet and intentional mom that I met last summer.

We live in a pretty mediocre culture. The voices of our culture in this contemporary world will most always give you permission to compromise your ideals, escape the hard work, go the easy route. “Oh, they will be just fine—don’t interfere too much.”

But, there are not many leaders you can point your children to, and say, “Look at that person—they have worked hard, sacrificed their lives, and accomplished something great in this world and I believe God has designed you to give something great to your generation in your lifetime.”

Yet, I am convinced that if we, as mothers, understood that we have a capacity to work a little harder, give a little more and cultivate more intentionally, we will indeed be able to see greatness of soul, and depth of faith arise out of our children’s lives. It is the best work we will ever do.

Nothing truly great is ever accomplished without great effort. We are, after all, subduing a world that is in rebellion against God. By investing more time in our children, we are helping them mount up over inertia, over laziness, bad habits, self-centeredness and giving them practice at developing good habits, skills, abilities, all of which need to be intentionally nurtured, taught, modeled and trained into them by their parents!

However, it takes more work than I ever thought. If a mom doesn’t want her 13 year old son to be addicted to the computer, she will have to help him cultivate more captivating interests, and she will have to invest her personal time, money, sweat equity and energy to do it—excellence requires us to go the extra mile.

Today, I am at a statewide speech and debate tournament. Children ages 12-18 are competing in a variety of areas. Each child has had to invest hours and hours preparing, studying, practicing and if it is similar to our household, the whole family has been involved—listening to speeches, correcting scripts, giving ideas, researching quotes.  The whole process has taken our family hours and hours, but it has benefited us all and sharpened us all as we have been forced to think through ideas, philosophy, and defenses together.

I am quite amazed at the articulate, thoughtful speeches coming from the hearts of the young adults here, who have invested their own hours  in this venture. They have engaged their minds in great ideas, and practiced thinking and saying them.  They are going to be more excellent communicators in their life- time because of the hours their moms invested in them to make this competition a possibility.

Whether a sport, a musical skill, art, ministry, some kind of academic or creative work, our children will be blessed if we invest the time it takes to give them more of a foundation of confidence in their souls, as we help them find a way to practice productivity, excellence of character and the need to take every moment captive for Him. To find that “fit” for our children’s creativity, that activity that engages their heart, passions and personality, will probably require us give up the rights to our own time, and invest in the future of our child’s productivity, by taking the time now to help them cultivate their skills and interests and good habits.

It will require that we go that extra mile-but that extra mile will take them much further in their lives than can ever be measured.

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