by Dan Goldschmidt
In October, Berean Youth did a two-week series on Friendship. On the first night we talked about how Godly Friendships let you Be Real. As I was preparing for this message, and thinking about this concept, I realized the same is true for families as well.
For many families, being real means being comfortable being yourself. Wearing PJ’s all day, getting into arguments, playing games together, and sometimes being the weirdest version of yourself. If your family is anything like mine, you know exactly what I am talking about. But I think there is more to it than that.
Being Real should mean being vulnerable with what you are experiencing, thinking, and feeling, especially when it comes to our faith.
It is so easy for us to pretend things are okay, or to want to be strong for our family, or think they aren’t old enough to handle this information or situation. I get it. As parents you want to protect, provide, and care for you family. And I am not suggesting that you don’t, but the older your kids get the more they will see, experience, and encounter hard situations. The best place for them to process these emotions and situations is in the home. And, I would suggest the best way to help them process is to be real with what you are going through and how you are processing. When you do, three things happen:
1. You show your kids that its okay to not be okay.
Students these days are under a lot of pressure and stress. More and more students are reporting that they regularly feel extreme levels of stress. If we are honest, that doesn’t generally go away as adults. Whether it is pressure at home, at work, with family, or friendships, there is always something causing stress and pressure in our lives. That is normal. Its potentially even healthy to have some level of stress in your life. What’s not healthy is not processing and handling it appropriately. Help your students know its okay to not be okay, by inviting them to walk along side you when you are not okay.
2. You help your kids learn from your mistakes.
We all make mistakes. I bet, somewhere in your list of hopes and dreams for your kids is the desire that they don’t repeat the mistakes you made in your life. Well…. Maybe by letting them know your mistakes you help them to not make them yourself. There are so many situations that they will or are encountering that you already went through. Be real with them. Let them know you went through it too and share what went wrong and why. Maybe by trusting them with those not so great parts of your life, you can help them avoid those same situations in theirs.
3. You show your kids the appropriate way to navigate life.
We all make mistakes, and we all have successes. Share those situations and stories with your kids. It’s good to celebrate success, and to learn from it too. Don’t just show them what not to do, show them what to do.
The best friendships are the ones where they can be real, and be vulnerable, and I believe the same is true for families. Be Real with your students about your life, and maybe they will be more likely to be real with you.