| from Suzanne Phillips |

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

I remember hearing once, “When you give birth to your sweet baby and place them in the crib you should also place a suitcase next to the crib as a reminder that one day they will be leaving.” Our babies are not ours to have and to hold but to raise and release. This statement begs the question, what tools are you packing in their suitcase to prepare them to go?

I have a friend who placed 936 marbles in a jar when their baby was born, one for each week until their child turned 18. Every weekend one marble would be removed reminding them to be intentional with the time they had been given. Parents, how many marbles are still in your jar? And, what tools are you packing with the time you have been given? 

When our children are born, they are 100% dependent on us. It is our job, as parents, to train them up, raising adults not children, and to pass the torch of responsibility for their own life to them. How in the world do we do this? Well, the goal is to gradually pass on faith, values, tasks, skills and consequences allowing your children to pick up the torch of life and run their race!

As we raised three children there were several tools that we wanted to ensure they had securely packed away in their bag for their journey through life. The following is a list of things we considered as we planned ahead for their future. Consider the following as you ponder the tools you want to pack for your child:

  1. Core Needs – Does your child understand that security, identity, belonging, purpose and competency are found in God alone? Do they know these are God given needs?
  2. Values – What does your family value and how are these values demonstrated within your family?
  3. A relationship with Jesus – What does discipleship look like in your family?
  4. Strong family connections – How do you build strong healthy relationships within your family and its members? How do you work to heal from hurts?
  • An understanding of boundaries – Are you practicing boundaries and consequences or control and behavior modification?
  • A heart of gratitude – How do you express gratitude?
  • A heart of forgiveness – How do you practice forgiveness?
  • Life Skills – How are skills being taught and trained? What does delegation look like in your home?
  • Knowledge of their gifts, talents and experience – Does your child know themselves and how God has uniquely created them? How are they exploring their passions?
  • Vision – How and when are you discussing the importance of vision with your children? As they age who is partnering with you to help your children with discovery.

Each tool, experience, achievement and failure are preparation for life. What a wonderful privilege it is to be entrusted with the opportunity to help shape the heart and the future of your children.

My husband and I are PASSIONATE about children discovering how God created them and how they might express themselves through their gifts, talents and passions. For the past 13 years we have helped over 100,000 high school students navigate the process of career and college planning. We have had the pleasure of watching students be affirmed in who they are through career assessments created to help them match their interests to future vison! In addition, we have witnessed parents come to know and understand their children on a whole new level as their interests and gifts take form for the future. How exciting!

It is never too early to begin preparing your child for the future God has designed for them. If you have a high school student(s) check out Envision Life Academy www.envisionlifeacademy.com for a sneak peek at a helpful tool to help pack that bag!

Suzanne Phillips

Beacon Life