Our church does baby dedications. It’s different than an infant baptism–it’s more of an act of the parents in dedicating their children to God and making promises to lead their children to Him. I’ve been a part of a lot of churches that do dedications and they are all very special. But the dedication at our church is pretty…well, it’s outstanding!
It’s a big event with cupcakes and linens on the tables. There is a photographer and friends and family were invited to share the day. Asa’s dedication has been one of the highlights of parenting him.
Before the big event, we had to do a little homework. We listened to a few teachings by our pastor and in one of them, he encouraged us to write down 5 values we wanted to instill in our child’s life. We had to write these 5 values down because we were going to share these at the dedication.
This is when my husband and I got nervous! Five values? Something that would carry our son through life? Our vision and hope for his future? Plan it out? Right now?! And tell other people what they are?!
After a few conversations (mostly in the car) and a few notes (mostly written on the back of an envelope or receipt) we came up five values we want to share with Asa. Five things we want him to LIVE when he leaves our home:
1. Reliance on God: We want our son to follow his namesake King Asa and when in time of trouble, learn to pray, “LORD, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O LORD, you are our God; do not let man prevail against you.” (2 Chronicles 14:11)
2. Respect: This is more than respecting us as his parents. We want him to respect, submit, honor and love the authority God puts in his life--parents, teachers, pastors and more. This will be the earthly example of loving and respecting his Father God.
3. Confidence: We want our son to trust in the amazing plans God has for him. To be the man God made him to be without any questioning, wavering or deception. We want him to walk in God’s great power.
4. The Body of Christ (Church): We believe church is a rock in a Christian’s life. Something that keeps people grounded and connected to God. We want church to be central to our family.
5. Family: We have committed to making our family a place of love, acceptance and comfort. We want our son to feel that and to return that love to his sister and to us. And eventually to his own family.
These five things might seem silly to you. They might not be that holy. Or that might be #42 on the list you’d make. But that’s just it. You need to make a list.
It’s not just a pretty list to keep in a baby book (or on a blog!). It’s marching orders for you as parents. It fleshes out your desire to raise your children for God. It gives you parameters and a plumb line for how you want your family to look and feel.
God has reminded me many times of this list in the past 3 years.
When I don’t want to do that extra thing at church, I remember that loving the body of Christ is a value to us and example to my son. So, we do it.
When I try to figure things out on my own, or whine and complain, I remember that the example I need to set is one of reliance to God first, crying out to him before working on the problem myself.
Can you sit down with your spouse today and make a list? Just 5 little things you want to pass on to your chidren. The values, virtues or character qualities you want your kids to have as a foundation in their hearts and lives as they leave your home and make their own. You will be surprised at the things that float to the top. The things that suddenly don’t matter.
And you’ll be excited as you gain clarity on how to parent your child with purpose.
photo source: Thomas Life