Isn’t it true of our relationships, even the most peaceful and pleasant, that it never takes long after we say “I do” before the humanness of at least one spouse makes us start wondering why we ever did? I mean, marriage is hard! Technically this shouldn’t surprise us, just look at the math: no matter how you dice it, one sinful man + one sinful woman does not equal 1 perfect marriage. It never will. And then you add in a pack of sinful children and you’ve really got a big mess on your hands! Well thanks a lot, you might be thinking. What kind of message is that? Couldn’t we read more pleasant news? Well folks, there is pleasant news in store, and all is not lost for marriage and family, but not because the previous equation isn’t true. Let’s look at the math again, but modify the equation: one sinful, but saved man + one sinful, but saved woman can equal one imperfect, but beautiful marriage. And this time when the kids are thrown in, it’s much less traumatic! The difference, of course, is Christ.
What a blessing to enter adulthood, marriage, and then parenthood with the saving grace of Christ on your side. Since we are sinful beings, we can be most grateful that we do not enter into these stages of life alone in that sinfulness. However, that doesn’t make it an easy walk in the park either.
As parents, we desire to prepare our children for adulthood, marriage, and parenthood. Getting them to that point of being mature, Christ-like adults who vow to be faithful, loving spouses who go on to become wise, loving parents, however, is no easy task. It needs to be bathed in prayer, but it also needs some practical action as well.
Where does a parent start?
One path to beginning that journey can be done through discipleship and training focused intentionally on those very areas: from Christlike young person, to spouse, to parent. We’re very excited about our redesigned curriculum, The Keepsake Notebook: a customizable curriculum focused on preparing for each of these stages. As stated earlier, raising godly children is no easy task, but there’s no reason to go on this journey alone. By yourself, you may feel inadequate, but thankfully, we don’t need to rely only on ourselves. God has gifted so many men and women, some who have gone before us, some still presently with us, with the ability to clearly teach and disciple in these areas. The Keepsake Notebook takes advantage of these saints and resources.
Let’s break it down a little.
Why the term keepsake? It starts with a consideration of heritage. Psalm 127:3 states that “children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward”. It’s easy enough for us to see our children as a gift from the Lord; the wonder of their birth and the love that overwhelms us proves that easily enough. But a heritage has to do with handing down something from the past, a tradition. So, what does it mean that our children are a heritage from the Lord? They are more than a gift or reward; they are a keepsake from God, entrusted to us, and it is our job to pass the heritage of faith on down to them. When we look at our children, we are looking at our keepsake, our heritage, from God, and we must keep it, holding on to it with all our might. If we fail in this task, our children will grow up without their heritage, and they will have no keepsake to pass on to their own children, and their children’s children (for more on the “keeping” of our children, click here). So, firstly, keepsake is meant to remind us as parents the importance of who our children are and what is at stake in how we raise them. This understanding is the whole foundation of the Keepsake curriculum.
A secondary reason for keepsake is that our goal is for our curriculum to result in the compilation of an actual, physical keepsake that your child can hold on to. They can keep it with them and look back on all they’ve learned, even continue to be influenced by it as they grow, mature, and move on: a keepsake for your little keepsake!
How does it work? Rather than being intimidated by the word curriculum, think of The Keepsake Notebook as a compilation of valuable resources for becoming godly men and women. The curriculum for sons is titled Biblically Defined Manhood and has the following subsections: Godly Sons, Being Self-Controlled, Integrity and Character, Created to Work, Headship/Leadership, and Loving Your Wife. The curriculum for daughters is titled Beautiful Biblical Womanhood and is divided into these subsections: Lovely Daughters, Loving Your Husband, Loving Your Children, Being Self-Controlled, Loving Purity, Keeper of the Home, Kindness and Hospitality, and Lovingly Submissive. Each of these subsections will hold study guides for the books, blogs, articles, podcasts, etc. that your child will work through. The study guide, with all the summarizing, journaling, copying, etc. that your child completes, will be kept in their notebook/binder. They can continue to look back on all their material, keeping it fresh and always at their fingertips.