Carrie's Relationship Tips
Happy or Holy?
My husband and I just witnessed the graduation of our fourth Abbott child-(at 6’5 he is a man now) and we have only one left in High School. What a joy to see our son graduate leaving a substantial legacy at his school! Our school’s graduation is unique because each student gives a one minute speech thanking their parents as a way to honor them.
- Key thought #1. Honoring our parents helps us understand holiness. I recommend setting up strategic opportunities to help your students honor their parents, and others in authority. Honor requires submission and humility and is efficacious. My belief about educating students in biblical relational truth is to have them do what is good for them even if it is from the outside in because it eventually gets to their heart! Don’t wait for them to “have a heart” to do the right thing as you could be waiting a long time!
As the graduation ceremony went on and each student spoke, it struck me that while so many were thankful for the right things, many were listing their gratitude to their parents for shopping excursions, trips to Disneyland, parents driving them everywhere and my personal favorite “always making my happiness your priority” or other similar comments. The students at this private school are stellar so don’t misunderstand my question, but is making our children happy and fulfilling every shopping, travel, sporting and academic dream of theirs our goal? If so, I must admit to failing my children because while I love them unconditionally and their grades, sports and service are important in our family, my first goal has NOT been to make their happiness, the center of my universe. My heart and passion for raising godly children has been to first help them strive for holiness.
- Key thought #2. If we train the next generation to believe their happiness is most important, then they won’t have successful relationships. What will they do when difficulty or pain happens? Or what happens when they get married and it’s hard? As Gary Thomas writes in his book Sacred Marriage,
"What if God didn't design marriage to be "easier"? What if God had an end in mind that went beyond our happiness, our comfort, and our desire to be infatuated and happy as if the world were a perfect place? What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?"
As leaders, teachers, parents and coaches how are you teaching holiness is more important than happiness? I believe this happens every time you consistently model this belief, when you value what God values and when you remind them that pain is not their enemy but an opportunity to “know” God. By the way, in front of 1,300 people, our son said thank you to us at his graduation, and to my delight, the first thing he thanked us for was raising him with the truth. Okay, I cried, but wouldn’t you?