When I was little I wanted to be a super hero, pretty much because it would be cool to fly like Superman or have all those crazy gadgets like Batman. But also because I thought it would be pretty amazing to have the courage to stand up for what was right. Super heroes rarely show fear. They know what they need to do and muster the strength to get it done.
Superheroes defeat the bad guy, right what’s been wronged, and always get the girl.
But life isn’t all comic books and actions movies, is it? The bad guy isn’t always obvious. What’s right is not always apparent. And let’s not even talk about girls . . .
All too easily we can find ourselves on the wrong side of conviction, standing up for something or someone that in the end isn’t worth the effort.
And for our kids, figuring out how to stand up for what’s right can be tricky. Kids can get into some pretty heated discussions about what they think is right, like how cookie dough is better than moose tracks ice cream or DC Comics is better than Marvel.
Then there’s the kid who just wants to be accepted so much that he’ll do anything his classmates ask of him—even if what they’re asking could get him into trouble. His conviction for wanting to be liked trumps his convictions for showing respect towards others.
For kids, standing up for what’s right is one of the most difficult lessons to learn. But thankfully, as parents we have a unique opportunity to influence our kids and help them navigate the wise choice while the stakes aren’t so high.
So how do we do that? How do we help our kids understand what’s right?
Maybe start with conversations about what you support as opposed to what you’re against—things like grace, second chances, loving our neighbors, loving our enemies or fighting for the underdog. Children have a better chance of showing conviction if they can identify what they’re fighting for rather than what they’re against.
Then take it a step further and talk about how to stand up for what’s right. You can have conviction but be a jerk about it. Help them understand the balance of grace and truth, how to love others while being true to their convictions.
Find examples of other kids and let your kids see people their own age showing conviction. In the book Stand Up: Get in the Story, we included eight stories of kids starting incredible initiatives to stand up for what’s right to help others. Read about them or watch their stories on YouTube. Inspire your own kids with stories from kids and students who are changing the world with their conviction.
Be the example yourself. Our kids are watching us. They see the choices we make about how we spend our time and money, how we respond to the challenges we face. Perhaps even bring them into the decision making process and allow them to see you wrestle with what’s right and how you’ll respond.
Most importantly, let your kids know that they don’t need to do this on their own. We are created in God’s image; God has given all of us the ability to know what is right and the ability to do it. Because conviction is rooted in God’s character, not an individual’s personal opinion or attitude, we can stand up for what’s right and trust that God will have our back.
Someday our kids will be out on their own and have to make decisions about what to support. While they’re with you, influence them to stand up for what’s right, even when others don’t. This world needs a generation of superheroes—kids who grow up knowing how to stand for what is right, in the right way. Let’s show our kids that they can do that because God is with them—and gives them the power to Stand Up and Get in the Story.
“Stand Up and Get in the Story” is now available in the Orange Store! Find your copy here.