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Parents seeing their kids as young Bravehearts

Gary and Lisa Black were in our home last night. They are here to meet the 53 World Racers whom they’re going to coach beginning in a few months in the Philippines.  Gary and Lisa are so well-suited for the task.  They love the Racers like they were their own children.  They hug …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes


Gary and Lisa Black
were in our home last night. They are here to meet the 53 World Racers whom they’re going to coach beginning in a few months in the Philippines.  Gary and Lisa are so well-suited for the task.  They love the Racers like they were their own children.  They hug them and confront them equally well. Somehow young people sense they’re safe and begin pouring their hearts out to them.

One of the things I particularly like about Lisa is the way she is a cheerleader for her children’s kingdom destinies.  Many parents carry on over their child’s smallest accomplishment in the sports or academic arena (in Little League everyone gets a trophy).  Contrast that with Lisa, who sent her 16 year-old son Tyler around Africa with mission teams for weeks at a time. To give you a closer look at what I’m talking about, here’s a note she wrote him: 

My dear son,

What an amazing experience, one you will never forget!  I cannot even imagine walking around a foreign country alone at your age!  You are fearless, I love that about you!  I said to your dad while you were traveling alone that I never worry about you in those situations, you are so smart and brave, but I would be in near panic over any of the rest of the kids….that is a long journey!

I can tell your grandparents are so thrilled to have you, I know you are loving seeing them again.  I love your spirit and your encouragement, you are right where you are meant to be and although your absence is heavily felt, we are happy for you.  I think God is preparing me for when you all go off on your own, I will miss you all so much, but I will never stand in the way of your life, your dreams, or your inheritance, I promise!”

If you’re Tyler, what does that do for you?  Man, if that’s me hearing my mom cheering me on like that, I think I could walk on water.  Our kids need us to not only believe the best about them, but to liberally, even sloppily slather on the praise.  Yes, it needs to be sincere, but realizing that the first 30 years are identity-forming years, we as parents need to give them a strong foundation of righteous self-confidence.

Many people comment on what a fantastic, mature young man Tyler is.  That didn’t happen by accident.  His parents focused him on seeking first the kingdom and when he took risks in going for it, they didn’t worry or wring their hands, but saw him as a young Braveheart in the making.

Comments (3)

  • you are so right on in this. Our young adults seldom have had people (read: parents) who do the simple things – like tell them they’ve got what it takes to make it in this world, that we’re proud of them, that we believe in them, & they need to go out there & embrace whatever adventure their Wild Lover/Abba Father has for them

    I know so many people just like Tyler who are living the adventure God has for them simply b/c someone took the time to encourage them to go get it.

    btw, great pic – what contrasts! 😉

  • What awesome truth. I too have a glorious and magnificent ambition for my three young kids – to run hard after their Lord Jesus (I like the race metaphor!). Of course, my wife and I need grace and courage (which are the second names of two of our children) to even want this. So we should pray to Abba Father, who is the perfect parent.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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