"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is how the old saying goes, right? Apples are great for you and tasty too, but that's not what we're going to talk about today.
September 18 is International Eat an Apple Day, so in celebration of that momentous occasion, let's look at how an A.P.P.L.E a day can not only keep the doctor away, but also goes a long way toward keeping Satan at bay. Ironic, don't you think considering how many people attribute the apple with fouling Adam and Eve up so long ago in the Garden?
A--Adoration. The first step in keeping Satan from gaining a foothold with our kids is to adore them. Yeah, I know, we all love our kids, but I'm talking more than that. I'm talking about letting your child know s/he is the "apple of your eye". (Sorry, couldn't resist.) If you aren't head over heels about your child, really, who else will be other than probably Grandma. Teachers, coaches, friends--they all care about your kid, but none is as invested as you are and none will be there for the long haul. Find the stuff in your child you can adore--then let them in on the secret.
P--Prayer. We live in the middle of a battlefield whether we can see it or not. Prayer is the biggest weapon in our arsenal and we better get pretty liberal at pulling out this big gun. Cover your child in prayer or you leave him/her open to attacks from Satan.
P--Perspective. If you want your child to thrive in this life, you are going to need some perspective. What I mean is that first of all, you've got to get both an eternal and a long-term view of this parenting thing. You are going to have good days and bad days and days that make you question everything you've ever known to be true. Remember you are growing an eternal being and you are in it for the duration. Look at things with that attitude and today's struggles come into focus a little clearer.
I also mean you need perspective about your child's strengths and weaknesses. I know I just told you to adore you kid, but don't feed into their esteem so much that they can't recognize any faults in themselves. Help them learn the great and the not-so-great so they can become the people God created them to be.
L--Leadership. A sure way to protect your kids is to lead them well. This involves displaying patience when you want to scream, integrity when you want to fudge, strength when you want to buckle, wisdom when you don't have the answers, and grace in the face of adversity. By modeling the way things should be done, you lead your kids by example and they will often rise up to follow. Leadership is not a dictatorship or a democracy--you are the adult, act like it. Make the hard decisions, call the unpopular shots, and live out a life of character with each new situation.
E--Education. It is not the job of the school, the church, or the babysitter to teach our kids. We need to make the most of every opportunity to mold and shape our kids into people we will be proud to claim. That means using every moment to explain, challenge, disciple, and discipline our kids. Seize every chance to guide and direct their learning, whether it be academic, relational, spiritual, or emotional. We are the best teacher our child will ever have. Make the most of every moment you can grab with your son or daughter.
So, there you have it--an A.P.P.L.E. a day will keep Satan at bay. Grab some caramel sauce, an apple, and your kid, and get started today!