Houser Family

Priorities For Parents And My Thoughts On College

Jason Houser

Introduction

I have been a parent for 20 years now, which is hard for me to fathom even as I am writing this. As the saying goes for parenting, “the days pass slowly, but the years fly by.” I want to share some vision with you as a parent of young children. Also, as you look to the future hopes and dreams you have for your children, consider making a short list with your spouse (if you are married) of the priorities you have for your children’s futures.

My wife, Heidi, and I made a commitment years ago that our number one goal for our children was they would put their faith in Jesus and have their own relationship with Him. We faced many trials and challenges with our kids in both the elementary and teen years, but we have never stopped praying for them, pursuing their hearts and pointing them to Jesus.

Priorities For Parents

I had a conversation the other day with a Christian brother who has younger children. He asked me what our plans are for our kid’s college education. I told him we aren’t against our children going to college, but we are most concerned about helping them seek God as they take their first steps away from home. You will read a devotion in the upcoming Jesus Family Worship Guide written by our oldest son, Ben, about his experience with an organization called Youth With a Mission (YWAM). We chose YWAM over college because we believed that was the best way for our son to further his relationship with the Lord. We had many friends and family members question our decision, but we are confident we are on the right path. My wife and I knew if our children continually walk with Jesus, we can trust that He has plans for them and He will take care of them.

I am not against college, in fact both my wife and I graduated from college. However, I do get concerned when I talk to Christian parents and they assume college is God’s plan for their kids life. Our culture has so ingrained in our minds that ‘good parents’ send their kids to college, we almost don’t consider or even pray about anything else. I am encouraging all parents to not assume what God has for our kids, but let’s ask Him first. If it is college, joyfully send you kids and if it something else, joyfully send them to that. But let’s allow God to be the Lord of our family and allow Him to direct our steps. 

Encouragement Towards Parents

In closing, I want to encourage you to pursue a genuine relationship with your children. Spend time and invest in them heavily. Share your faith with them and don’t be afraid if your family looks different than many other friends and family members. We are Christian parents and are called first and foremost to be God’s instruments to help our children trust and follow Jesus.

[Thanks for reading the blog today! I would love to hear your thoughts below…]

14 Responses to “Priorities For Parents And My Thoughts On College”

    Thank you for this! This is something that my husband and I have been noticing and talking about more and more. It is certainly a new trend that honestly I wish was around when I was in college. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your prayers, and helping parents navigate through. You are a blessing in so many ways.
    For His Glory!
    Cullen (:

    Yes! Love this! This is a message that needs to be heard. Let’s help guide our children in the path that Jesus is guiding, not assume a path for them.
    With 10 kids in our family, some may go to college, some may not. It’s an exciting adventure to see the story that Jesus is writing for each of their lives! Stay in close relationship with your kids and you will get to be an up front and center part of their story. ♥️

    This post is right on the money, thanks for sharing!! Just this weekend at church we were talking about how we are to be in the world, but not of it. As you point out , college isn’t bad…and it may be what the Lord has planned for some, but the thinking that says or implies sending your kids to college is the only responsible thing for a parent to do is “of the world” thinking. Thanks for the encouragement in this post as we try to lead our home to seek first His righteousness above all else.
    Darin

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. Yes, the years do fly by as we shepherd the hearts of the children God has entrusted in our care. It is refreshing to read your post, as a college education is consistently promoted as the “one size fits all” option for families. This is something that should not be assumed as a given but prayerfully considered for many reasons! So far four of our eight children have graduated from our home school education, and each of them has chosen to pursue a path that has not yet included college. This is not to say that they are not continuing the pursuit of education and of what God has for each of them, As my husband and I pray over them daily, we continue to joyfully and faithfully entrust them into the Lord’s care as they seek after His will. We are constantly encouraging them to pursue the things that God has for each of them. We still have four remaining at home that have not yet made any commitments or definite plans as they are working and training diligently to grow into what God has for them. It is so exciting to see how God will direct their paths!
    God bless!

    Dannelle Green says: January 29, 2019 at 9:08 am

    Thank you for sharing. You can pray for my family as we seek to do what’s best for our daughter that has a severe developmental delay. She’s 18 but her intellectual level is significantly lower. She struggles with many things from school to hobbies to peer relationships. Our time to impress on her is getting shorter, as you said about the years flying by! God has big plans for her I know he does!

    Suzanne Knutson says: January 29, 2019 at 10:03 am

    Thank you for allowing God to bless me through your article. As a former homeschooling mom, it is easy to doubt… But, your timing is great! Our 24 year old daughter started her first really grown up job TODAY! She explored for a year after high school, went to Bible college (but did not graduate), traveled to many countries, has taken a few college classes, she chose with purpose and intention, that have helped to equip her in areas where she needed input but above all, seeks the Lord in all she does. We had an important talk with her at age 13 and told her that if we were not doing enough to help equip her for whatever God was calling to, she had to let us know and take charge. It is such a beautiful thing when someone asks your child what they want to do when they grow up and your child answers “Love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and love my neighbor as myself”. She was an early bloomer. We also have a late bloomer, but he is getting there–May God bless and keep us all!

    Thank you for stepping out and sharing this “unpopular” opinion Jason. It is important that Godly families know college is not a requirement, it is an option, and should only be pursued after much prayer and wise council. Sharing your opinion gives others the courage to question and reconsider what so many assume is the only option for our high school graduates. Our prayer for our children has consistently been “God give our children a vision for what you want them to pursue in this lifetime!!” – trusting that He will do what we ask Him to do. As followers of Jesus we are commanded to Seek First His Kingdom and if we do He will direct our steps!

    Thanks for the post. I think everyone feels like college is the obvious next step after high school, well I don’t agree. My husband and I didn’t go to college and we both hold office jobs that pay well enough. Honestly, had I of gone to college – I’m may not have been able to work part time if I had a heavy student loan hanging over my head. I was not a Christian when I graduated high school so I can’t say I prayerfully considered my next steps, but without a doubt God has lead me to where I am today. I’m thankful for that! I will definitely work to prepare my children for whatever their next steps are through prayer and point them to Christ and his Word as they work through the transitioning into adulthood.

    Thank you for reminding us not to assume the college path. I remember praying about this for myself years ago after feeling the call to Christian college. My parents cautioned me about the financial aid needed for a private school but let me make the choice. I chose Christian college, and God provided through scholarships, grants, loans, and work. After 4 years of school and 2 years of work, I had a degree and no debt. Seek the Lord and trust his leading.

    Our thoughts exactly. My husband is a pastor and he literally just spoke these same thoughts from the pulpit last Sunday.

    Kimberly Madsen Dill says: January 30, 2019 at 11:49 am

    As a Christian parent and grandparent and as a college professor in a public college, I heartily agree with you! As others have so eloquently pointed out, nothing is sweeter than to see your child seek the Lord first in all areas of their lives. They will only do this through our examples, in our own lives and in raising them.

    Amen, amen, amen, and AMEN!

    As a Christian and an administrator in higher education, I can attest that college is not for everyone. But it is a still a good choice for most Christians as it opens up opportunities to serve in leadership roles that have influence. My encouragement to Christians thinking about college is to encourage them to consider the area where their gifts and their passions overlap. Then they should determine what they need to learn in order to amplify their impact in this area. College then becomes a staging ground preparing believers to achieve their goals rather than just an early station along a career pathway.

    We have 11 children…and some have chosen college…one is in a trade…one has created her own amazing business…but I would STRONGLY recommend Christian college….It is a vastly different experience than secular . ….and a very good one. Secular schools have very strong humanist agendas. Something to seriously pray into. I would eat rice everyday instead of willingly putting our children into secular.

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Jason Houser

Jason Houser is a worship leader, songwriter and the founder of the Seeds Family Worship ministry. Looking back now, he never would have imagined that leading worship at his church’s Vacation Bible School in 2002 would be the beginning of the Seeds ministry.

Jason is a Grammy-nominated songwriter that has co-written several #1 songs, including “More”, and “The Motions”, for Matthew West and “Hide” for Joy Williams. He also co-wrote Matthew West’s current radio single called “Broken Things”.

Jason has also co-written a parenting book called “Dedicated: Training Children To Trust and Follow Jesus” (Zondervan) with Pastor Bobby Harrington and his son Chad Harrington. The book shares the biblical principles that formed a foundation for the Houser family when their children were young.

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