If we are to model for our children the kind of person God wants them to be, then we must learn to connect with them. This is an extremely important concept. Connection means that a link or a conduit must be built in which love, information, blessing and communication can flow. Without that link, any modeling you present will be less effective than you want it to be. When you establish that link, then your modeling can be maximized. There are a number of ways that this link can be established, but consider these three as highly effective:
TOUCH: Appropriate, nonsexual, loving touch builds bonds. In fact, if we are to follow the model of Jesus, we might want to consider it (Mark 10:13-14, Mark 6:56, John 13:25). Touch has a way of communicating acceptance. Just think of what it must have felt like, as well as what was communicated to the prodigal son when his father embraced him after his life of poor choices (Luke 15:20). When sincere, touch affirms and validates love. It establishes a link.
TIME: Connections cannot be realized without spending time. In fact, review the scripture from last week’s Reflections (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). In that passage we’re told that we are to teach our children about God in almost every domain of life. To be able to do that requires spending time with them in all of those domains. If you plant a garden, but don’t spend time in it, you can expect that weeds will grow. You can also expect that your connection to that garden, and your dedication to seeing it grow will diminish. Spending time also communicates value, and thereby builds a link.
ENCOURAGEMENT: Connections are also built through words of encouragement. The bible expressly teaches this (1 Thessalonians 5:11, Ephesians 4:29, Hebrews 10:25). There is clearly good in a good word. Consider the truth of Proverbs 12:25, and how anxiety burdens a man,but a good word makes him glad. All of these verses apply to children just as easily as they do to adults. Encouragement builds a link. And when we model them for our children, they’ll model them for theirs. They’ll also model them for others, and by so doing, we will be advancing the Kingdom of God!