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Pray over them. I remember hearing my mom and dad pray over all their children at night. I can still hear their voices as they lifted each one of us to the throne of grace. James 5:16 tells us, "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." I have no doubt their earnest prayers played a powerful role in my life.
Today, I find myself doing the same thing on behalf of my family. When I stay on my knees and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to me, I receive guidance and counsel. It's one of the most valuable gifts I can ever give my children.
Set the rules. Help them guard their eyes, ears and hearts from influences that will negatively affect their spirits. This takes effort and consistency, but it's extremely important.
At the same time, allow them to enjoy acceptable entertainment that's fun and exciting. Plan family events and look for wholesome movies. Encourage their creative, athletic and musical abilities.
Thankfully, there's a great deal of uplifting gospel and Christian music being recorded today. It's a wonderful alternative to what's being offered in the secular marketplace.
Encourage them to make right choices. Remind young people that each time they stand up for what's right in the eyes of the Lord, they gain strength. The more strength they gain, the better leaders they will become. Eventually, they'll be the ones influencing others to make godly choices.
Most teenagers feel different from their peers in one way or another. Let them know that being different on behalf of the Lord is a blessing, not a curse.
I'll always be grateful that my parents provided a moral compass for my siblings, my friends and me. I'm convinced that the biblical truths and ethical principles they stood on a generation ago still work today.
They were steady and wise. Looking back, I realize I could always depend on Mom and Dad for certain things.
Although the household rules were very strict, I knew that I could trust their discipline. They were fair and reasonable. Even in the midst of being punished, I never doubted their love for me because they showed it in so many ways.
Church was my family's second home. We had to go.
When we weren't at church service on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, we were attending summer church camps, going to revivals, or off somewhere singing in the young people's choir. We were submerged in the things of the Lord and discovered what it was like to be in His presence.
It was a life-changing discovery. The Bible tells us, "You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forever" (Ps. 16:11).
Mom and Dad kept us motivated. They encouraged each of us to achieve our full potential.
Dad in particular never lost sight of the fact that we were young and needed something to do. He showed us that a saved life was not a bored life.
When we weren't bowling, we were skating. When we weren't skating, we were playing baseball or running track. If we weren't playing sports, we were having concerts. Life was busy, and my parents were always involved.
Many times, our instinct is to shield the next generation from every ungodly thing. But that's impossible. Instead, we must equip them for whatever they may face.
Whether we're parents or not, we have a responsibility to plant a seed—say a prayer, get involved, be a role model. There's a generation counting on us—and the time to start making a difference is now.
CeCe Winans is an award-winning vocalist, including Grammys and Dove Awards.
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