Written by Dr. Kyle Barrett, Director of Spiritual Formation

I was around Mile 21 when it happened. Blistered and tired I didn’t think I could make it to the big sign that said “FINISH LINE” and complete my first marathon. It was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other. The only thing that kept me going was I knew my family would be waiting on me. I knew I would get to see them soon enough – I just had to keep running.

Raising self-motivated kids is a lot like running a marathon. It’s not easy and, despite the joy of finishing well, has its own unique set of challenges and stressors that seem insurmountable and unrelenting at times. How can we as parents stay in the race and finish well? Greg Harris offers a few thoughts that can motivate us as we seek to raise self-motivated kids:


1. Self-motivated kids are easier to raise in every way. Once it clicks with our kids, watch out! Life becomes easier for us as parents when our kids go above and beyond what they’re asked to do.


2. Self-motivated kids are excited about life. When the “want to” replaces the “ought to” our kids come alive with excitement. The joy of success now translates into increased capacities for joy as they mature and tackle even greater challenges.


3. Self-motivated kids are focused and committed. Knowing our kids are focused on and committed to God-honoring, people-blessing endeavors takes a huge burden off us as parents. As Christians, we aren’t spared suffering or heartache. We live in a fallen world and feel the effects of it daily. But, as our kids move on from our homes we don’t have to worry about whether or not they’re making good decisions because we’ve seen them remain focused and committed to good things in the past.


In case you’re wondering, I did finish that marathon. With tears of joy (and pain!) coming down my face and my youngest son in my arms I crossed the line and checked that off my bucket list. My hope is that you’ll continue to run the race to parent your kids well so that they’ll be self-motivated and self-sacrificing for the glory of Jesus!


To view the Part 2 of this series, click HERE