We just got back from a great week at Camp CoBeAc in Houghton Lake, MI. There was swimming, a zip-line, rock wall, putt-putt, canoeing, a waterslide, games, ice cream…all the great things you’d expect to find at camp. Our church kids had a blast, and the best part: They slept all the way home!

However, none of those things were why we went to camp. We intentionally took our kids to camp for one reason: Spiritual Growth. Kids can get putt-putt, swimming, ice cream, and adventure time all right here in our local community. In fact, those natural things of life just seem to happen without much planning at all. But if children are to make spiritual memories, it will only be because spiritually-minded adults made sure that happened. It’s different.

Think about it: Why do children say “Yah” instead of “Yes”? We hear kids talk like this and wonder how their parents can stand it. Doesn’t it bother them? Don’t they want their kids to talk politely? Sure they do. But are they intentionally making sure their kids turn into well-mannered, well-spoken adults?  “Yah”, I guess not…

I heard a leader say something a few years ago that has stuck with me: Plant righteous things in the paths of your kids. Well-mannered kids don’t get good manners on accident. Well-educated kids have access to great education, intentionally. Great athletes generally had parents who planted sports in their lives on purpose. How often do we plan purposefully for the most important aspect of a child’s nature. Spiritually-minded kids need parents who intentionally plan for that outcome. It doesn’t just happen.

In education, we have a method we call discovery education. The idea here is that teachers map out a course of activities and projects through which students “stumble onto” the concepts they need to know. As the theory goes, children learn more when they believe they have discovered knowledge on their own rather than having a teacher feed it to them. It’s a nice idea for education, and it has some applications that are noteworthy. Yet how much more true this can be for a child’s spiritual life. Christian camps, Christian school, youth group, missions trips, Vacation Bible School, Christian literature, family devotions, faithful church attendance: Are not these plantable, righteous things for the paths of our children? There are predictable outcomes for children who stumble onto these things as well, aren’t there?

What righteous things have I planted in my children’s lives today so that they might “discover” the really important truths they need to know? May my parenting be as intentional as the Lord was when He blessed me with influence over these lives.