Parenting is hard. In fact, it's one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life. Don't get me wrong, it's an amazing experience I'm so grateful for, but the journey to help our children know who they are and walk in the path our Creator has created just for them is one of life's greatest challenges. There's so many things that can lead them astray and the battle is fierce to keep them off the wide path that leads to destruction and on the straight and narrow. We can train their hearts when they are younger and give them all the right information and tools, but ultimately there comes a day when the journey becomes their own and they must decide which path they will take. Letting them choose freely, even when you see their path of choice not lining up with the one you would have chosen based on wisdom and understanding, is the hardest part of all in parenting. That's when prayer becomes your greatest weapon to fight for their destiny as you trust God with the rest.
Recently as I pondered these points, I was reminded of some of the things we chose to do for children that would create markers in their lives, road signs of sorts for when they are desperately trying to find their way.
When our son was around eleven years old, his father and he entered into a community group with fathers and sons around the same age. It was a time for men to grow men and iron to sharpen iron. This group of men had a monthly Bible study and social gathering. They played games of all kinds, went on field trips, and had a devotion led by different fathers in the group about raising boys to be knights in a modern day world. They trained them in respect, honor, chivalry toward the opposite sex, purity, being a warrior for good and so much more. When each boy reached the age of 13 they were “knighted” as warriors in God's army.
Each ceremony was planned by the parents and included the fathers of the group speaking over them as well as other men from their extended family like grandfather's and brothers if they were good role models. Each man spoke on one topic, shared what God had taught them on the subject, and then gave a charge to pursue it. Then as the son knelt on one knee, the father prayed over the son and presented him with a real sword chosen especially for their son based on leadership of the Holy Spirit. We chose a replica of King Solomon's battle sword. Yes, Solomon had his flaws but he was a man of great wisdom whom God chose to build his temple and we desired wisdom and leadership in God's service to be our son's path. That sword has hung on our son's wall since his knighthood was established nine years ago. It's been a constant reminder of who God has called him to be as a son, a warrior, and a man. He has valued his identity established in his ceremony that day and it has helped remind him of the path that God has chosen for him on the days when he's been tempted to veer off course.
We chose a coronation for our daughter, which is a crowning ceremony. The scriptures say the older women are to train the younger ones. As a result, I've done women's Bible studies over the years with our daughter aside from her regular Bible classes in school, but there came a point when my husband and I wanted to establish her identity as a daughter of the King. Many young women today do not know who God says they are. In the harsh culture we live in, its hard being a woman. Women are constantly bombarded with false sexual images of who they should be. Those images create doubt, insecurity, depression, eating disorders, sexual victimization, and so many other lies about how their Creator sees them. This means we have to work extra hard to train them to find their beauty not in the clothes, jewelry, or makeup they wear but in their royal birthright as a daughter to the throne. Otherwise, they can become confused about who they've been created to be as a jewel in their Father's hand and later a jewel in their husband's crown.
Our daughter's ceremony included her closest girlfriends because we wanted to influence their perspective and identity as well. We invited women who had been spiritual influences in her past and a couple of women who were headed into her future as spiritual role models. With today's technology we even had a few people record video's and send them to us who could not attend. Each woman prepared something they wanted to say on a specific topic. They spoke on purity, true friendship, womanhood, her callings in prayer and worship, and her identity as a daughter of the King. At the end, her father spoke over her about washing her in the word of God as mentioned in scripture. This is the role of the husband toward his wife but a father also does this for his daughter until he hands her hand off in marriage. At the end of his speaking, he had her stand and then he placed the most beautiful tiara on her head I've ever seen. It was hand selected by him just for her on her special coronation day where she was crowned as a daughter of the King of Heaven.
Both of these events were pivotal in our son and daughter's lives and not something they would easily forget. These events are markers the Holy Spirit will use throughout their lives as a reminder of their true identity. If you've never considered creating memorable moments for your children as they enter into some of the most difficult years of their lives as men and women, consider doing it now. It's never too late. We recommend age thirteen for boys and possibly sweet sixteen or younger for girls. Our prayer for you as parents is that you will empower your children to know their true identity so the enemy cannot still it away. They were created to be knights and princesses in the kingdom of God!
And, "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." II Corinthians 6:18