Written by Joe Schafer
Three of the most important things for me as a parent are parties, Pikachu, and pink dresses. I have two kids; a seven-year-old son and a five-year-old daughter. Having young children, my time is often consumed with a variety of activities and it is always a challenge to manage all of the things on the schedule. Three things that I always want to make time for are parties, Pikachu, and pink dresses, because I believe that these are three key things that will allow me to gain influence into my kids lives in some of the most crucial areas.
Parties are a regular occurrence at my house. It could be a weekend picnic with 100 guests or an elaborately themed birthday party. Why are these so important? Because I know that friends are one of the most impacting influences in a child’s life. I want my house to always be a safe place where all of my kids come to hang out. This gives me the ability to get to know my kids’ fiends and for me to be involved with their friends. This is especially important during the teenager years, but I want to start to gain influence in this area while my kids are still young.
Pikachu is a common topic of conversation. In fact pretty much any Pokemon could be mentioned at any moment in my house. My son is particularly excited about Pokemon. I try to make time to play Pokemon Go with my son and the other video games that he likes to play. This is important for me because I know that choices in entertainment will always be a crucial choice for kids and especially boys. I want my son to always make choices in his entertainment that are pleasing to God, and I want the opportunity to have conversations about his choices in entertainment now. When something questionable comes up in his entertainment, it is natural for me to talk to my son about it, because entertainment is always a part of our conversations.
Pink dresses are very important to my daughter. Like many five year old girls, everything has to be pink and there is nothing better than a fancy dress. I try to make time to go shopping with my daughter, and we often have conversations about clothes and fashion. I have actually become educated on five-year-old fashion so that I can intelligently talk to my daughter, and she trusts my opinion on what is “cool.”I know that in 10 years my daughter is not going to continue to come to me for fashion advice, but I recognize that young girls often have struggles with identity and self image. I want my daughter to know that she is beautiful and that she does not have to look a certain way to be valuable. I also know that in 10 years I want my daughter to value modesty. Having conversations about fashion now gives me a voice into what she chooses to wear. I want have influence in this area now so my first conversation with her about modesty is not at her senior prom after she already bought her dress.
I had the opportunity to work with teenagers for the last 15 years, so I can easily see the areas that are often struggles. As I am raising elementary-aged kids, I am not just preparing them for elementary school, but I am also preparing them for middle school and high school. Right now my focus is on developing influence with my kids in these three key areas, so that when they are teenagers these conversations are very natural.
Joe Schafer has been on staff at Allison Park Church for the past 13 years and served in various roles in the youth and children’s ministry. He has been married to his wife Rachael for 13 years and has two kids- Jordan, age 7, and Rylee, age 5.