7 A's by Josh McDowell

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This week Mike and I, along with our Life Group (a Bible Study group) attended a Josh McDowell conference.

It was a Parenting Seminar, which is perfect since all of us in the Life Group are a parent of a baby under a year old.

Josh McDowell is a wonderful speaker.

His passionate speech was to educate parents on how to raise their children so that they grow up to make right moral choices in life. He said that 85% of kids walk away from their faith within 12 months of their high school graduation! That's huge!! These are kids from good homes, good churches, and raised with fundamental evangelical beliefs. Today's younger generation is not willing to skate by on their parents' faith. They want to know more about why their faith is right and why they can believe it is true. If these kids do not get the information they seek they walk away from their faith.

Josh McDowell said of course there are no guarantees. You, as a parent, may do everything perfect, and a child will still walk away. But if there is an answer or formula out there it consists of 2 basic principles:

  1. You have to have a relationship with your kids in order for them to listen to the things you say.
  2. You have to model what you say you believe.
  • Truth without a relationship leads to rejection.
  • Rules without a relationship leads to rebellion.
  • Discipline without a relationship leads to bitterness, anger, and resentment.
What is a relationship with our children suppose to look like?

Josh McDowell has developed the 7 A's. They are awesome!! I love them!!
  1. Affirmation
    • Sense of Authenticity
    • "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." -Romans 12:15
    • "When others are happy be happy with them. When they are sad share their sorrow."
    • "I'm so sorry...that must really hurt."
    • "Son, I hurt for you."
    • "I don't know what you are going through but it must really hurt."
    • "I'm so happy for you."
    • "It must make you feel so good."
    • "Thank you for sharing that with me."
    • You don't have to fully understand your child's feeling to affirm their feelings.
    • When we identify with their feelings of excitement or disappointment we let them know they are understood for whom they really are-authentic human beings.
  2. Acceptance
    • Sense of Security
    • Unconditional acceptance
    • Acceptance is embracing a child for who they are rather than what they can do.
    • "Accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified." -Romans 15:7
    • "I don't want to acknowledge my child's success as much as their effort." To focus on their success is to teach them the lie: "If I don't perform I won't be accepted."
  3. Appreciation
    • Sense of Significance
    • "Significance is the feeling or thought that you've 'done' or 'said' something worthwhile"
    • "A voice from Heaven said, 'This is My Beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with Him.'" -Matthew 3:17
    • While acceptance of our children tells them that their being matters, expressing our appreciation to them says that their doing matters too.
    • Catch your children doing something right and express appreciation.
  4. Availability
    • Sense of Importance
    • "Some children were brought to Jesus so He could lay His hands on them and pray for them. The disciples told them not to bother Him. But Jesus said, 'Let the children come to Me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.'" -Matthew 19:13-14
    • Love can be spelled T-I-M-E
    • A child feels important when you make yourself available and spend time with them.
  5. Affection
    • Sense of Lovability
    • "I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you." -John 15:12
    • Verbally express affection.
    • Express appropriate physical affection.
  6. Approach
    their world
    • Sense that you are interested in what they care about.
    • "Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable and does not keep record of wrong when it has been wronged." -1 Corinthians 13:5
  7. Accountability
    • Sense of Responsibility
    • "Yes, each of us will have to give a personal account to God." -Romans 14:12
    • Loving limits and boundaries need to be set for children to learn responsibility.
    • Accountability provides the parameters that children need so they can operate safely and securely. It helps them learn to make responsible, right choices. Without parameters there is only confusion and chaos.
Josh McDowell said these 7 A's could be beneficial and used to improve any relationship, not just a relationship with our children.

Pretty good stuff huh?

4 Showin' Comment Love:

Shannon said...

I really like Josh McDowell! (I've never been to a conference, though, just read some of his books.) Thank you for sharing this stuff! In our Sunday School class at church, we are going through Tedd Tripp's "Shepherding a Child's Heart," which sounds similar to this. Tripp says that lots of parents focus on molding their child's behavior, but in order to be really effective, you must shepherd the heart. (Prov. 4:23 is a key verse.) I could go on and on, but it's just because this ties into so much that I'm right in the middle of learning! =)
Have I told you lately what an encouragement you are? 'Cause you really are! =)

Sherri said...

Thank you for sharing this! Josh McDowell is awesome! I'm going to have to copy and paste this post and save it somewhere. I just love going to conferences- It is always so refreshing. My husband just went to the Men at the Cross conference and absolutely loved it.

Lisa said...

What great advice! I agree that one of the best ways to teach your children is to teach through example.
Thanks for sharing!

YOUR BRO???? said...

WOW - I didn't know how you were going to top "My Breasts Save Lives" but you did!!! Seriously - awesome info!