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5 Ways to Teach Your Kids Surrender

5 Ways to Teach Your Kids Surrender

This past year has been unprecedented living through a pandemic. It has come with lots of changes, inconveniences, and in many cases, extreme losses. The world we knew pre-2020 is no more. Lockdowns caused our children to become separated from friends and loved ones, causing them to feel hopeless and mental health crises to skyrocket. While we as adults may have difficulty adapting to our new normal, our children may have extra difficulty adjusting to homeschool situations, isolation, and loss of loved ones. While we are adjusting to a different life as we once knew it, it is easier than ever to hold onto whatever remnants of control we have left. Not only is it comforting, but it also gives us hope that life will be neat, organized, and tidy as it once was in the past. However, God already gave us strategies to cope with tumultuous times such as these. One of the best strategies He has given to us is the art of surrender.

Exodus 14:13-14 (NIV) says, “Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” The Israelites thought they were going to die being outnumbered by the swarm of armies around them. But it was only when they laid down their weapons did God work miraculously on their behalf. How counter-intuitive! While the American Dream teaches us to wield our swords, fight our own battles and work hard for our rewards, God wants to work on our behalf, doing miraculous feats, not just in our lives but in our children’s lives as well.

But what does it look like to surrender in this entitled materialistic society in which we live? Is it even possible to yield our lives totally to God?

What Is Surrender?

Surrender is one of the best strategies to help kids learn to cope with the tumultuous times in which we live. Surrender is defined as “cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority.” However, in today’s world, our children are taught to question authority. Not only are they encouraged to leave situations when the going gets tough, but they are also told leaving is keeping the peace. Instead of learning perseverance in the midst of giving God total control of their lives, the world tricks them into believing it is OK to keep parts—and sometimes all—of their lives to themselves so they can predict their own favorable outcomes.

Additionally, our children live in a world of instant gratification. They can have and do whatever they want with the simple push of a button. It is more difficult than ever to teach our children how to surrender. For example, your child may be a perfectionistic workaholic that fills his schedule with every activity he can and come home exhausted. While the world applauds him for being busy, he might be spiritually and emotionally exhausted and not even know it.

What if she desperately wants love and approval and gets a temporary fix through posting provocative videos on Instagram or Snapchat? The likes and heart emojis may satisfy in the short term, but what about in the long term? How will she know God more intimately when she doesn’t know how to give over her life’s circumstances to the one who holds the future in the palm of His hand? As adults, we have enough difficulty giving our lives entirely to God. We sing the hymn "I Surender All" in church, hands raised in a posture of surrender, yet go home and hold our kids too tightly and ignore the fact they are wholly and dearly loved for exactly who they are.

How to Teach Kids to Surrender

What can you do as a parent to teach your kids surrender? Here are five ways to teach your kids to surrender:

1. Validate

The best thing you can do for your kids when they must learn to let go of life as they knew it is to help them understand it is OK not to be OK. People wore fake plastic smiles for so many years and pretended they were fine when they weren’t. Kids need to know it is OK to feel sad, angry, confused, or any other emotion they feel. The better they can express their emotions and have someone validate it is OK to feel that way, the better the chances they have of letting go of what they feel they lost.

2. Communicate

No matter how old your child is, your child needs you in their lives to help guide them through the difficult seasons of life. This includes navigating the uncertainty of this pandemic. Do your best to keep the lines of communication often. Ask probing, open-ended questions rather than simplistic closed-ended questions requiring a yes or no response. Sit down for a meal and encourage them to express themselves, wading through idle chit-chat until they get down to their honest thoughts and feelings.

3. Listen

Kids need to talk, but more importantly, they need someone to listen. Take the time to listen without distractions. Put the phone away, turn off the TV and listen to your kids. Listen to both what they say and what they don’t say. Nonverbal communication can speak just as loudly as their words. Practice active listening and repeat what you heard them say so they know you are not misinterpreting their intentions based on your own beliefs or biases.

4. Grieve

As adults, we don’t grieve well. Our society teaches us to dedicate a tiny bit of time to grieve our losses, whether a loved one, a possession, or a career. But grief is not linear. To fully grieve a loss can take months and sometimes years. Kids need to understand it’s OK to feel sad about losing something. Life is and will be full of loss. One way to process their feelings is to start a grief journal. Encourage your child to write down what is making them feel sad and why they feel this way. They can keep it private, or you can encourage them to share it with you or a friend.

5. Seek Help 

Throughout the Bible, the disciples always had a community to go to for help and support. Whether it was the Acts church or the disciples going through the towns two-by-two, they never did life alone. In this world of technology, it is easy for your kids to turn inward and not reach out for help. No longer is there a stigma surrounding mental health and counseling. There is nothing wrong with asking for help from a professional. Plus, there are both options of either meeting with a counselor face-to-face in an office or via telehealth options in the comfort of home.

Surrender is never easy, whether it is an adult or child who needs to practice it. But being a comforting presence in your child’s life will help them let go of the areas they are having trouble letting go of and embrace a new and promising future.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/PeopleImages

I Surrender All (Sort of) by Michelle LazurekYou can find Michelle Lazurek's new book, I Surrender All (Sort of)here.

Writer Michelle LazurekMichelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website

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