Over the past several years I’ve been thinking about and reflecting on a lot of things. How am I doing as a husband? As a pastor? As a parent? In my role as a pastor of family ministries, I have really jumped into trying to equip and encourage parents do a better job of helping their family walk with God. In part, my work has probably been self-serving. I want to get better as a parent, and I need help.
After almost 25 years of serving in the local church, I have worked with hundreds and hundreds of kids and families. I’ve learned a lot. As I’ve watched families start and grow, I have learned some things I do and don’t want to do as a parent. I’ve also learned that putting my learnings into practice in my family is tough. Through many of those years, my wife and I have had the privilege of spending time with young couples who are on their way to marriage. We have a pre-marital counseling process that we take them through, and we hope to help them uncover the major issues they may face in their life together. We ask them questions about their childhood and their teen years. We hear stories about their family and their friends. We learn about their hobbies and interests, their dreams and aspirations. Always, and I mean always, we hear about their bags.
You know about bags. I’m talking about the emotional bags that we all pack over the years. Sometimes these bags are big, heavy, and extremely hard to carry. They get packed in a variety of different ways by a lot of different people throughout our lives. These bags can have a tremendous impact on our emotional, spiritual and relational health. A few years ago, I started asking myself a series of questions: What if I knew the most common bags that kids pack as they grow up and what if I could actively work AGAINST my kids packing these bags? Could I help them grow up and NOT have the emotional baggage that will possibly cripple them in the future?
My wife and I are parents of two. We have a son and a daughter that we love very much. We’re doing our best to raise them to be solid adults who have a real faith in God and we pray that they will be physically, spiritually, emotionally and relationally healthy. I’d love for them to get to their young adult years and be free of the bags that so many people pack.
“Bags” is a deep dive into identifying eight common bags that kids pack as they grow up and thinking through what we as parents can do to help them NOT pack these bags. Our observations come from interviews and focus groups with young adults and our ideas and suggestions are rooted in a Biblical foundation and a faith in Jesus. My hope is that this conversation can influence parents to pay attention to the bags that kids are packing and actively work against these bags becoming weights too heavy to bear.
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