“Then he said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest’” (Luke 9:48 NLT).
Over the years, I’ve noticed four common gifts we need to give to the next generation: Our presence, our acceptance, our guidance and our correction.
The gift of your acceptance: Everyone craves acceptance. It seems we never get enough. When you give your children the opportunity to be themselves and to become what God—not you—wants them to be, you give them a great legacy. The welcoming environment of acceptance is the atmosphere in which kids bloom. Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes a little child, welcomes me” (Luke 9:48 NLT).
Even though they’re your children, acceptance is never automatic. You must be intentional in offering it and continual in showing it. One of the most important times is when a child does something that embarrasses you publicly. At that moment, you have a choice: Will I care more about how others see me or about the feelings of my child? We’ve all seen embarrassed parents in stores use angry, derogatory words with kids who didn’t realize what they were doing.
An often-quoted research study noted that the single greatest factor determining whether a child succeeds in life or messes up is the presence and acceptance of a caring adult in his or her life. The amazing discovery was that it doesn’t have to be a parent! It just has to be someone who offers love, acceptance, and godly guidance.