Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Without a Vision

If we can impart a vision to our children for their future, they will be inspired to pursue excellence, do the hard things that are required, and restrain themselves from that which slows their progress.

Last week, I posted this as my status update on Facebook.

The Word tells us, "Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint." Proverbs 29:18

When we are working towards a very clear goal, it requires a great deal of restraint to persevere. If one has the goal to make it to the peak of the mountain, no matter how difficult, they will continue the ascent until they reach the summit. If they simply decided to climb the mountain and maybe they'll get to the top, their lack of vision will cause them to turn back when the going gets rough.

If our children know where they are going, if they have a strong desire to fulfill their calling, their destiny and the purposes they feel God has given them, they will restrain themselves to do the hard things. They will push through when its difficult if their mind is set on the summit.

My two boys (11 and 13) have very clear goals for their future, both requiring quite a bit of higher education. Because of this, they persevere through the harder courses, knowing this is part of the journey. They have a natural tendency to want to take the easy path, but because of their vision, they buckle down to get the work done. They know that the work given them will enable them to score well on the SAT, or do well in high school or college. Often, while doing something exceedingly monotonous, one might ask, "Will this be on the SAT?"

Over the years, our communications with them have strategically and purposefully imparted vision to them, and conveyed to them ownership of their future. We explained that THEY and THEY ALONE are responsible for their future. We can offer the opportunities, but it is up to them to take advantage of those opportunities and make use of the blessings God has given them. The doors are opened for them, but often they are only open for a short time. Will they walk through those doors? We have told them stories of people that spent their youth focused on friends and entertainment; they chose not to focus on or pursue their passions and interests, making personal sacrifices, and ended up unsatisfied with their lives because they missed the opportunity.

My children understand that, ultimately, their future is in their hands. They comprehend that the middle school and high school years can be the most instrumental years in developing their knowledge-base, expertise and skill. They can become experts in their special interests, gifts and talents or waste their days barely finishing their basic studies, leaving no time to pursue special studies. As homeschoolers, they have nothing but time during these years. They have a choice to squander it, or use it wisely. We cannot make them drink from the fountain; we can only lead them to it and encourage them to drink.

Let us impart a vision to our children. This enables them to look beyond the hedonistic mindset that traps them in the now, knowing that their future depends upon their choices today. This empowers them to restrain their tendency to pamper the flesh and feed the mind junk food.

Most of us grew up without a clear vision for our future. Most of us know the disappointment of seeking a career that pays well, over that which makes use of our gifts, talents and passions. Interestingly, most of us had a vision for what we wanted to do by middle school or high school. Because we were not given the opportunity, we did not hone and develop the skills needed to pursue that passion planted in our hearts. We were stuck in the cookie-cutter mentality of government schooling. Thankfully, we can cast off that hindrance and allow our children to run with endurance the race marked out for them.

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10