by lisha epperson
This post is about LiChai our 12-year-old wunderkind. He was a little over a year old when the family began calling him “the professor”. At that age he could already speak…not toddler babble. He could speak. He could rattle off the names of more dinosaurs than I ever knew existed. His thought process, critical thinking skills and perspective on life were impressive. As parents,we were delighted with his obvious brilliance, but also reminded of the importance of making sure a spiritual legacy was securely implanted. Because of his “book knowledge”, we felt it all the more important that his heart remained pliable to the Lords leading.
LiChai is analytical, a voracious reader and thinker. You have to explain things to him and they have to make sense. He is methodical and mathematical. Faith – belief in God, a God you can’t see, a God whose thinking is so far and above our own – well, I just didn’t know how this all would pan out for him. The part of him that is a child believed…as children do. I know this and was grateful for it, but I wondered what would happen to his faith as he got older…when the simple answers no longer satisfied his intellect.
Living in a city fosters some of the challenges we face. Children are exposed to so much. For example: we can’t get on the subway without being exposed to even the subtlest hints at pornography. Central Park is our back yard, but as wonderful as that may sound, it comes with ANY number opportunities for conversation about ANY number of things. A walk in the park is never just a walk in the park. Especially when they’re young. I am hoping to guard their hearts and keep them focused on Christ in the city that never sleeps…but how?
Email.Facebook.Cable. – We have said no. Video games come with restrictions. Yet none of this assures us of anything. Living in NYC isn’t even our problem really. It’s the world we live in. I get it. Yet I am reminded how easily things slip in without your permission…before you’re even asked the question. Little things, like walking in a store with him as a toddler and him screaming out “Blues Clues”- when he had never seen the show. Or bigger things, like the time he used profanity, the chill in my bones and instantaneous remembrance of where he’d heard it. We were flipping through channels at a friend’s home – I’d heard it too but it was so quick. I was amazed that he picked it up, brought it home and used it in context. How does that happen?
I know I can’t be there to shield him from everything. I recognize that his path is his own to walk and that I am merely a guide. But I take this parenting thing seriously and accept fully the charge to train him up in the way that he should go. I know too that God can and will use him – in this world and for this world. But only if he is willing to be used. Will he be?
Last week LiChai turned 12. I asked him what his vision for the year was. Did he have any particular dreams or goals that he wanted to carry out. Typical birthday talk …the anniversary of ones birth being a perfect time to look back at Gods grace as it followed you the previous year and to look ahead and dream about the future.
Me: What are your plans for this year? The year of 12?
LiChai: I want to grow.
Me: What do you mean?
LiChai: In God, spiritually…and physically wouldn’t hurt either.
A response like this is the sweetest affirmation I could hope for. I will not stop praying but am confident that He who started a work shall be faithful to complete it. We will go ahead with our plan of action – which started with prayer – for him and with him, reading a children’s bible, little stories of faith, regular church attendance, long talks, family devotions, encouraging him to read his own Bible, long park walks and exposure to the vastness of God’s creation. It is an everyday impartation. The seed was planted. First the sprout and now a seedling of faith…that we must continue…. to water.
Parenting…always on my knees…giving it all to Him. over and over again
Have you considered the spiritual legacy you will leave for your child? Do you have a child/young adult that you think about in this way? How have you handled it? Do you have any advice?