If I had a job title at home, it would be either Light Turner-Offer or Dog Feeder-Walker. Sadly, these are responsibilities that should be handled by other family members. For the record, I was the only one who really didn’t want a dog, so it’s strange that I am the primary caregiver for the fur ball. What would your job titles be? Meal Maker? Dish Washer? Toy Picker-Upper? House Cleaner, Bed Maker, Clothes Washer, Toilet Flusher, or Pooper-Scooper?
I know there are very structured families where every child has their daily, weekly, and monthly list of chores they faithfully do. Maybe you are one of those families. My wife and I tried to implement a dozen different systems over the years and could never reach that ideal. To be fair, our oldest is now in college and is handling his responsibilities there well. My middle child has developed into a very responsible high school student. I’d rather not mention my youngest right now, though I have high hopes for him.
It turns out I am not alone in my hope that my children grow up to be responsible members of society. A recent Pew Research study showed that, out of 12 important values, “responsibility is viewed as the single most important value to teach children.”
This month, my church's children’s ministry will be focusing on the environment of Responsibility. Based on Michelle Anthony’s book, “Spiritual Parenting,” we will be reinforcing this truth: “God has entrusted me with the things and people He created around me.”
Most people immediately associate responsibility with the burdens and chores in our lives, like cleaning the toilet. However, the responsibilities God charges us with are also exciting and life-giving! God has created each of us with gifts and abilities and there is great joy when we use these to make a difference in the world. Sometimes we don’t see the impact we’ve had until many years later.
We can help our children experience the joy that comes when we take ownership of our lives, talents, and the resources God has given us. The Holy Spirit can use this environment of Responsibility to show our family that God has entrusted His world to us. In Matthew 24, Jesus tells us the Parable of the Talents. In the story, the master says to the servant who put his gifts to work, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!”
As a family, what has God given you to advance His Kingdom? As you explore the various facets of Christ-centered responsibility, my prayer is that you would experience God in ways that will lead you to celebrate the responsibilities He has given you.
But for now, I need to go. The dog is whining for a walk.