Do you remember the phrase “just say no” as a kid? I remember this phrase and the t-shirts that came with it during the Reagan administrations war on drugs. Drugs still ruin many families across the U.S. each year, but I am convinced that our enemy is sly, strategic and has many other subtle ways of attacking our families. With the plethora of “opportunities” for your children to be involved today in things away from the home, parents must get better at “just saying no.” I want to encourage you to be thoughtful about the commitments that you and your family make when it comes to your children’s involvement in outside of the home activities. Every family has a limit as to how many activities that they can be involved in and keep a healthy, balanced home life. If you realize that your family is so busy with outside activities that you rarely talk, play games, pray and read God’s Word together, it may be time for some reflection…
Good and Best
There is nothing wrong with children being involved in good activities. The problem comes when too many “good activities” outside the home dominate the lives of believers and keep them from the best activities. I have 5 children and all of them want to play sports. All of them! Sports are good and they can teach very good life lessons, but sports are not eternal. Therefore, we have a 1 sport rule in our home that allows our kids to choose the one sport they enjoy most and play for a season. After the season is over, that’s it until next year. That’s our family rule. If Amy and I didn’t sometimes, “just say no,” we would most definitely be neglecting our duties as spiritual leaders in our home. Parents must be discerning and sometimes be willing to nix the good to have the best. Just make sure that if you have them home that you aren’t being lazy but instead, helping them to grow in their understanding of God and His gospel (this is the best).
Live by Example
Parents, sometimes you have to say “no” to yourselves as well. Your children will be more willing to sacrifice when they have been taught by example. If your children don’t view you as a parent who sacrifices good things for the best things, then your “no” to them will be received as cold and without purpose. You may have to give up a hobby, promotion, or some other thing that you aspired to in order to give your family the time that they need. What kind of time do they need with you? Psalm 78:5-7 has some good thoughts on this. “For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children, that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put their confidence in God…” Being together is not all about time for spiritual instruction though! Hang out, watch movies, play games, talk and connect. Be together and enjoy each other’s company. Be a family!
You are not a bad parent for saying “no.”
Sometimes God answers our prayers with a “yes” and other times with a “no” doesn’t He? When He says “no” to us, it is always for our good. He is not bad for saying “no” to us is He? Of course not! Christians are supposed to live different than the world and sometimes we have to draw the line in the sand on activities that pull at us. Kids don’t have the discernment many times during the formative years to know a good choice from a bad one. That is one reason why God gives parents to children. Be ready to say “no” sometimes. It doesn’t matter what those around you are doing. Don’t let time get away from you. Psalm 127:3 says, Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” Your children are a gift and reward! If you don’t say “no” sometimes, you may never enjoy them.
All Scriptures quoted from the NASB Bible