From the first pink night gown to the illuminating white wedding dress, from the brand new shiny T-ball bat to the hands on the steering wheel, from the first Sparkies Award to the swinging tassels at graduation, in the blink of an eye, it happens.
Every younger sibling like me witnesses the generic “Grew Up To Fast” speech somewhere along the way, only to hear it about oneself sooner or later.
Though this seems true, many say that the “terrible twos” stage lasts way too long, and the “Why? Why? Why?” stage of the four year olds drags on for centuries. Then along comes the teenage years when all of the hair falls off of Daddy’s head and Mama tries the last-resort Yoga class as a stress reliever, only to find out a large percentage of the teens don’t leave the “teen” stage until the mid-thirties.
Thus, the reality is that life happens in the blink of an eye. James 4:14 says …”whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. It is even a vapor that appears for a little time, and soon vanishes away.”
As our children move through these stages of life that we have discussed, there are many things that contribute to their quick development along the way.
As we all well know, children are most easily influenced by what they are exposed to on a daily basis.
Every family reunion that comes around, I always get to hear the funny story of my brother, Jeremiah, saying a bad word at the dinner table when he was 5 years of age because he had heard it at the “pizza place” and thought it to be acceptable. Since then, however, I do not believe Jeremiah has ever said another bad word.
Did this man at the pizza place influence Jeremiah in a negative way? It sure seemed that way at the dinner table I am sure, but if Jeremiah’s life was to be laid out and analyzed, it would be clear that he was not at all swayed by the influence of the man at the pizza place who exposed Jeremiah to a bad word.
Moreover, if we were to look at the daily influences Jeremiah, my brother, had as a child, we would see a strong resemblance to the lifestyle he lives today. You would see a good musician who was raised up in a musical family, an outdoorsman who was raised to love the woods, a man who does his work thoroughly because of the strict rules engrained at home, and a man with deep appreciation of God’s word because of the foundation his life was built on.
With all of the three siblings running around in the house, we all managed to subconsciously carry out the daily influences we had as children.
The influences children have on a daily basis will not all be good, usually. For instance, I was the youngest and the smallest, therefore I took the brunt of the bullying or playful teasing as a young child. Though my family and friends did not directly influence me through the exposure of outward things like abuse, swearing, neglect, or anything of that nature, I was inwardly pressed to harvest anger and resentment which surfaced in my teens years, and is something I have to keep guard of to this day.
There are major and minor cases of this, but every person has experienced it, and has dealt with it somehow.
Daily childhood influences do not have the power to change your character or your identity, but they will play a big role in your character development and change your perception of your identity.
Children will latch on to a mindset and mentality, and they will carry it as far as people will let them. This happens in the blink of an eye.
In the blink of an eye, people think they were born homosexual because of tendencies they have developed since childhood. In the blink of an eye, people think they were born the wrong gender when examining their past. In the blink of an eye, people accuse each other of being racist which threatens with nation-wide division. In the blink of an eye, law enforcement is put on trial. In the blink of an eye, families, and nations turn their backs away from the God who began them because they fail to see the evidence of Him in their lives, and all of this mostly traces back to childhood influences that have deceived the eyes and souls of millions.
Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way that he should go, And when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
We need to focus on building a strong platform underneath the feet of our children. As people, we go through stages where we might tear down and destroy everything that people have put in our lives because we think we can build it better. When it is time, and all of the things we have built fall to rubbish, and God wipes out all of the foolishness as it backfires in our face, what will be left? It will be the platform and foundation that was placed underneath our feet day after day when we were being raised up as children.
In the blink of an eye, God can restore the broken-hearted. In the blink of an eye, God can bring us back to where we belong.
In the blink of an eye, Jesus is coming back to receive His children unto Himself and claim His Kingdom. Are you ready? Are your children ready?
Let us work together with the little bit of time that we have to be the best influences we can be to ensure the foundation of our children today, and God will honor it.
Stay encouraged, and God bless.
Isaac Redman is a 22-year-old youth pastor at Pleasant Grove Church. He is a servant of Christ and loves music and the outdoors