Americans love their independence and a sense of democracy, but have an interesting curiosity and romanticism with monarchies. We love to follow “the Royals” and ponder what life must be like living as a Queen, Prince, or a King-to-be. We intuitively understand that life would be different on numerous levels. The wealth, perks and benefits would be incredible. The fame and adoration would be intoxicating to many people. This aspect of royalty undoubtedly consumes the majority of people’s thinking. However, to be a part of the royal family there are also standards and expectations. The perks come with a price and that price is how one is expected to conduct themselves as a part of this famous family. There are things that Royals can and cannot do. There are rules that apply to them which may not apply to the average citizen of the kingdom. Some have called this, “fish-bowl” existence and I suspect to some extent that is true. Their royal status demands a decorum and a walk that is circumscribed to their family’s destiny. To be a “Royal” is no average existence. It has family convictions and standards which all embrace. Now, it is possible to abdicate your royalty and status should you desire, but in so doing you also lose some sense of your destiny. Fair or not, that is a part of being in the family tree of kings.
This may be controversial to some, but we have taught our children that our family tree has a destiny. We tell them…You are not a “Baird” by chance, coincidence or accident, but God placed you in our family by design. You are “royalty” by virtue of the family covenant which has connected us to the Sovereign Lord, but you are also important because our family has a destiny as ambassadors of our King and the purpose which we have been assigned. You are not ordinary. You are not average. You are a “Baird” and we live with certain expectations and standards befitting this high calling. Your friends may choose to live a certain way and be allowed to do certain things, but you are not in their family. Our standards and expectations are not meant to “steal your fun”, stifle your development, or hide you from reality; but rather protect your future. You may think your friends’ parents are cooler, better, more hip and “with it” than your own, but I can assure you that their passive parenting is jeopardizing your friends’ destiny. The Baird household believes in comprehensive Christianity. We believe that Jesus is Lord of all and there is no aspect of life that is sealed off from His Kingdom or Lordship. That means everything in life is a “ministry”. It does not matter if you are “called” to professional, full-time ministry -or- become a butcher, baker, or candlestick maker; whatever the Lord leads you to do you do it as unto Him (I Corinthians 10:31). This is not some kind of family name “snobbery” or “thinking too highly” of ourselves, but rather recognizing that we represent the King of kings and His purposes in our family tree mandate our careful walk as a family. Will there be mistakes and sin? Possibly. We will always love one another unconditionally, but our love for one another does not diminish our convictions but rather strengthens our resolve.
Too many times, Christian parents live under a self-imposed, false hypocrisy which says, “Well, I did so many wrong things as a kid and rebelled at various times that I have lost any credibility to expect that my children do anything different”. It is exploited when our kids pit us against our past failures or their friend’s parents who are far more passive than we really want to be. Who wants to be the old “stick-in-the-mud” parent? Break free from that non-sense and look at your children and say, “I understand the dangers and land mines of growing up and I am going to do my best to keep you from making my foolish mistakes”. A family destiny starts when parents embrace the notion that they are stewarding God’s Will as it is represented in each one of their children. That means, our house is a benevolent monarchy (even dictatorship). The king and queen (dad and mom) rule in order to maximize the future blessing of God’s Will and purposes.
Now I understand that there will come a moment when your children become adults and they will make their own choices and embrace their own standards. As I mentioned in the previous article, the doctrine of depravity assures us of few absolute guarantees when it comes to human outcomes. The good news of the Scripture does remind us however, that if we, “train up a child in the way he should go, then when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). I have the responsibility to steward my family’s future as a husband and father and to protect it and provide maximum possibility for what the Lord might have for their future. Candidly, this perspective is the guiding thought for every blog article and precept that will follow this one. Every expectation I put before my children is motivated by love and fiercely connected to the best future possible. I am not their friend relating to them, I am their father protecting and directing them.
Every parent (couple) will have to determine before the Lord what the family expectation and standard shall be. I will be the first to stipulate that there could be some variance between family lists. Obviously, the commands and precepts of the Scripture should be on every family’s list. Remember, we are Christians and Jesus is Lord of all. That being said, we applied various kinds of wisdom to our children. When they were little, control of their lives was obviously much easier. However, starting when they are little reduces some of the arguments and debates you may find yourself in when they grow into their pre-teen and teenage years. Explaining to your 5-year old why their behavioral expectation is different than their friends sets the stage for later years. I kept reiterating the point that my job was to steward their life as unto the Lord and protect their future for all God had for them which was way better than they could ever imagine. The examples below are just a sample of things we established to underscore the standard of our family. (I will elaborate more in upcoming blog articles some of these points.)
1. We monitored movies, television, and video games for age and faith appropriate content. Their friend’s parents did not determine what was released into my child’s spirit.
2. Clothes. (I understand the need for style and to not look like a “geek”. However, the covering of basic body parts, modesty, cleanliness, and appropriate attire for the occasion were all filtered through mom and dad. On more than one occasion we have sent kids back to the room to change.)
3. Manners, honor, and respect. (Much to be said here later, but our family culture was developed in the south. We say, “Yes sir, no ma’am”. You respond to your mom quickly. The words, “please” and “thank-you” are expected and we will relentlessly remind you when you forget it.) If you believe your kids will have a future before people of influence and stature, then this is mandatory.
4. Interviewing boys who wish to date my daughter. (I want their testimony and I want to look them eye to eye). If I could go back, I would now probably get a copy of their driver’s license (No, I’m not kidding).
5. Curfew times and constant location updates from the kids.
6. Names of friends and their spiritual state (I Corinthians 15:33).
7. Group dating only. Violate that and it goes to “no” dating.
8. Church attendance was never an option.
9. Tithing from the earliest moments of financial enlargement in their life.
10. Work. When they were old enough to generate income (whether they needed it or not), it was expected that each one would lay their hand to a job.
Again, these are just a sample of some standards, convictions, and expectations. I understand that this list lends itself more to the “restrictive” aspects of what it means to be a “Baird”. In an upcoming blog I will also address the “perks” of the household which are available as well. My kids and my wife understand that we have a standard in our home, but they are equally aware of the blessing.
As a Christian, have you established and upheld clear convictions in your household? Is there a standard which stewards the possibilities of your children’s future?