If asked what I wish for children, I might answer “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” I wish this for parents, too.
Reflecting on the reality that suicide rates have gone up isn’t easy. Recently, two popular figures chose to end their lives. Every day, 22 veterans do the same. Too many young people choose suicide. Thousands of others try and “fail.”
Articles about the above aren’t hard to find so that’s not my focus today. And, I’m not going to write about being aware of mental health issues although that’s an important topic. Instead, what if we live and love to avoid mental health issues?
As you read the rest of this, please read it thinking and feeling. How are you doing at each of my recommendations? Would your children agree with your assessment? What can you celebrate? What can you improve? What goals will you set? I pray this inspires you to think, feel, and act.
I want us to…
I want us to encourage children to live well. To be well. To do well. To enjoy life and those around them. To feel deeply. To think creatively. To dream. To hope. To grieve what isn’t. To accept what is. To reject lies. To work on what they can. To choose peace.
I want us to prioritize contentment. To avoid comparisons that defeat them. To celebrate their excellence rather than expect perfectionism. To help them know and use their strengths. To help them accept their challenges. To help them work on changing what they can and changing their attitudes toward what they can’t. To give themselves grace.
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I want us to help children be resilient. To risk learning something new even if it takes effort. To accept mistakes. To bounce back after disappointments. To have appropriate expectations. To be kind to themselves.
I want us to know the children we love. To really know them. To inspire them to greatness. To believe in who they are and who they can be. To help them be realistic when thinking about their todays and their tomorrows. To find peace through grace.
I want us to be present physically, emotionally, socially, intellectually, and spiritually. We need to ask better questions. We need to listen longer. We need to help them find truth. Believe truth. Apply truth. Be true.
I want our children to know we love them, like them, enjoy them, and want to be with them. They are ours. Their behavior does not change how deeply we love them because we believe in grace and want them to live at peace.
Peace and grace
All of this has the potential to create peace for children. I want them to have peace and to know peace. Peace is essential to living well and wanting to live. Mutual harmony between people and freedom from annoyance and anxiety can change everything. Will we choose to live at peace and help children do the same? Will we do what we can?
Grace is also necessary. Let’s direct children to people who will grant it. Let’s help them receive it. Grace – unmerited favor and love – allows children to rest and live at peace. Let’s be the ones to give it. Talk about it. Embrace it. Don’t make them perform to be noticed, liked, or loved. It’s not healthy. Let’s be full of grace.
Grace and peace from God and His Son, Jesus Christ, matter the most. His is forever and internal. These are so important to Him that many New Testament books begin and/or end with a greeting about one or both. Many! You may want to read the following slowly. Let the truths seep in. Pray these over your children. Print them out to reread them. Talk about them.
God’s Word of encouragement
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:7b)
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:3)
“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.” (1 Corinthians 16:23)
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:2)
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:3)
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.” (Galatians 6:18)
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:2)
“Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.” (Ephesians 6:23-24)
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:2)
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” (Philippians 4:23)
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father.” (Colossians 1:2b)
“Grace be with you.” (Colossians 4:18c)
“Grace and peace to you.” (I Thessalonians 1:1b)
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1:2)
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” (2 Thessalonians 3:18)
“Grace be with you.” (1 Timothy 6:21b)
“Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” (2 Timothy1:2)
“Grace be with you.” (2 Timothy 4:22b)
“Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.” (Titus 1:4b)
“Grace be with you all.” (Titus 3:15c)
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philemon 3)
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” (Philemon 25)
“Grace be with you all.” (Hebrews 13:25)
“Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” (1 Peter 1:2b)
“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (2 Peter 1:2)
“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen” (2 Peter 3:18)
“Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.” (2 John 1:3)
“Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come.” (Revelation 1:4b)
“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people.” (Revelation 22:21)
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This post originally appeared on Celebrate Kids and was republished with permission.
Dr. Kathy Koch (“cook”), the Founder and President of Celebrate Kids, Inc., has influenced thousands of parents, teachers, and children in 30 countries through keynote messages, seminars, and chapels. Kirk Cameron chose her as the technology expert to interview in his movie, Connect: Real Help for Parenting Kids in a Social Media World. She has authored six books including four published by Moody Publishers. Find out more at www.CelebrateKids.com and www.Facebook.com/CelebrateKidsInc