I treasure the moments when he would come down the stairs first thing in the morning, sleepy eyes, disheveled hair, superhero costume on, and say, “Mom, I might have to save someone today.” Then he’d sit down for breakfast and drink his chocolate milk. smile.
Our world today is faced with many challenges. The great warriors of tomorrow live in our house today. They wear Batman clothes, eat lots of snacks, and climb trees. We have the awesome challenge of raising them – to be world changers.
Warrior. By definition it means - ”a brave or experienced fighter or soldier, one who is engaged aggressively or energetically in an activity, cause, or conflict.”
There you have it. Truth to live by. This is what our world needs today. This is what will carry our nation into tomorrow. True warriors. And, in case you’re wondering, not only boys can be warriors – girls have amazing warrior spirits too. I know one – she calls me “mom.”
But often in our quest to nurture and protect the young lives God has entrusted to our care – something gets squelched. “Don’t do that, you might get hurt!” we yell from out the back door. “Get down from there, you might fall.” “Let me do it for you.” “Be careful.” “Slow down.” “Stop doing that.” “You can’t…you should…you could…”
Of course, sometimes, we NEED to say some of those things! We are the parent, the one in charge, we need to provide protection and maintain control. But over the years, I found that in my quest to protect, I may have said some of those things – a lot. I may have actually been ”over-protecting.” I may have tried to do too much for them, not allowing them to stretch their wings, learn, and fly on their own. Through time, I have eased up, warrior hearts are allowed to thrive – to grow – to be challenged – to be strengthened. And though we are still growing, maturing, and learning – I sometimes think about what a true warrior should look like through the heart of a child.
So, what are the qualities of a great warrior? What can we nurture? What are some things to be aware of as we challenge our kids onward in this battlefield called life?
1. A warrior is brave. Courageous. A warrior understands that he may still “feel” afraid, but will never allow fear to hold him back.
Let your kids try hard things. Let them take risks. Foster a sense of adventure. It’s OK if they fail. Allow them to experience that – and move forward. Encourage. Equip. Challenge.
2. A warrior is strong. It goes deeper than physical strength. A true warrior heart is one of strength. He understands that his greatest strength comes from God. He doesn’t strive with his own efforts. His spirit is strong. He is mentally sharp.
Foster good health habits in your family - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Remind them that God doesn’t look at the outside, He looks at the heart. The greatest strength and beauty are reflected from within.
3. A warrior is humble. He recognizes his need for God to cover his life, to renew him every day, to walk with him through this journey.
It’s OK to be happy with a job well done. But often as parents, we tend to even “over-do” the praising of our kids out of our heart to encourage them. Focus on their efforts, more than on their successes. Remind them that all that we are – every gift – every talent – comes from God.
4. A warrior stands for Truth. He is wise. He is aware. He will not compromise Truth. He speaks up for what he believes in, he honors God with his life. The best warriors start their day on their knees – before God.
Teach them the Truth. Let them speak what they believe, let them learn to process problems and difficulties. Pray for them – pray with them – point them to our great God.
5. A warrior defends those who cannot defend themselves. A warrior fights for others. A warrior helps those in need.
Give them ample time every day to “save” someone! Let them role play. Let them be creative. Let them be superheroes and play good guys/bad guys. Provide opportunities where they can learn to help someone who needs help. Teach them to open the door for others, to serve, to defend.
6. A warrior is determined and loyal. He will not quit when things get tough. He will stay steady, he will endure, he will finish the race. He believes in God’s purposes for him. He knows God has great plans to work through his life.
When opportunities arise that make them want to quit something - perfect – teaching moment is at hand – don’t let them quit! Challenge them to stick it out till they meet the goal. Give them a chance to play sports. Emphasize the importance of teamwork, rather than just winning the game. Teach determination, stamina, the importance of running the race until the finish line. It’s not how fast you run in life that’s so important – it’s that you strive to finish well.
7. A warrior has integrity. He is honest. He is trustworthy. He does not lie. He will not seek the praise of people, but will always speak the truth, in love. He will show compassion. He will extend grace to those around him. His life reflects mercy and forgiveness.
Be the same you are at home as you are around others. We should let them see true integrity modeled through our lives. We can never be perfect, but really I don’t think our kids even expect us too. They simply want us to be real. Ask forgiveness when you blow it.
8. A warrior has self-control. He portrays discipline. He is careful with his words. He will listen to instruction. He will be aware of the needs of others. He will not act out in anger, but will rely on God’s help to show him the best way to fight the battles of this world. A warrior knows when to walk away and when to stand and fight.
Help them learn to make peace with one another. Don’t feel the need to jump in to solve every disagreement or fight. Sometimes I let them work through it. And if they can’t – you’ll know! Help them to know how to deal with and resist temptations. If we don’t tell them what to do when they encounter tough choices, the world will.
9. A warrior is a hard worker. He is willing to do the jobs that no one else will do. He always does his best, knowing that he is called to please God in his work, and not people. He is willing to lead when God calls him to lead. He is willing to follow when God calls him to follow.
Let them work! Resist the urge to do everything for them. They may not do it just like you and that’s OK. Give them their assignments and have consequences in place for unfinished work, or lack of effort. This can be so tough at times to stay consistent with in our house – but I’m determined. Provide them opportunities to be the leader over something. Let them understand the responsibility of having others depend on them.
10. A warrior gives. He gives freely to those in need. He gives to those who ask. He is not selfish. His life manifests the true spirit of giving through time, energy, and resources.
Let them give towards a cause. Provide opportunities to serve. Help them learn to give. Adopt a child to support monthly through a ministry like Compassion International. Let them do a work project for a neighbor – for no pay. Teach them the importance of tithing. Go on a mission trip or service project – together – as a family.
So thankful God has given us 3 brave and tender-hearted warriors to raise in this world. This is a job I don’t take for granted and I don’t take it lightly.
Our country desperately needs this next generation to stand up for Truth and lead our nation forward in the years ahead. May we be the parents who raise a generation of warriors for God.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9