A Letter to My Kids and a Little Bit of Inventory


By Deanna Johnson Cauthen

Okay, here’s the deal.  I’m a mom. I’ve been a mom for more than 28 years and I worry. And what do I worry about the most? You kids. I know, I know. I’m not suppose to worry–Cast your cares on the Lord, etcetera, etcetera–but, I do worry and not just about you, but your friends, some of which I have known for almost as long as I’ve had you.

I see you struggling with self esteem and identity issues, with faith and finances, with love and loneliness.  A few of you are single parents and I see how you struggle with trying to balance being a young adult with your duties as mom or dad. Sometimes I lay awake at night thinking about it all and it’s too much.  Yes, I pray and I’ve talked with some of your parents and I know they pray too, but it’s still really hard for us to watch you go through this.

The fact is, next to God, you guys are the absolute, most important thing to us.  We’ve poured our lives into loving you, nurturing you, protecting you, teaching you, preparing you, and providing for you.  I think that it’s safe to say, that for many years, our world revolved around you and just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean all that love has stopped.

The problem is you ARE adults and, unlike when you were little, we can’t make all the bad stuff go away.  We don’t have that kind of control anymore (I’m not sure if we ever really did, but we thought we did) and it’s driving us crazy.

It kills us when you date guys who are losers, backslide from the faith or renounce it altogether (with a declaration to the world about it on Facebook), rack up ridiculous debt, live in homeless shelters or on the streets, get arrested for DUI’s and armed robbery, run off to foreign lands to get married to brides unknown, sleep around with Tom, Dick and Harry (pun intended), get pregnant and bring the little bundle of joy home to live with us until Jesus comes, mutilate yourself and change your sexual identity. These are the things that fuel our nightmares, give us hardening of the arteries, and literally cause us to pull our hair out (I’m not kidding about the hair, folks. The next time you see me, look at the back of my head). And let’s not talk about the excruciating, searing pain of a parent who has lost a child to suicide.

Please don’t think that we think you’re just a bunch of screw-ups and that you can’t do anything right. That couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s what makes us so frustrated.  We know how incredible you are. After all, we’re the ones who brought you into this world, remember?  You guys are our pride and joy.

At the end of the day, we still love you and we will always love you. We’re committed to helping you as much as we can, but we’d like for you to do something for us. We’d like for you to take some time out of your busy schedule and do an inventory of sorts.  I know that you have a million and one things to do, but this is important, guys.

As parents, we don’t want to see you living your lives in the default mode; getting caught up and carried along by the prevailing social order of the day. We want you to be authentic and whole; to live your lives on purpose and with passion for God and man. Some of you are doing that, but many of you are not.

If you’re really brave, after you finish answering these questions, give this questionnaire to a family member or to a close friend who has known you for several years and ask them to evaluate you.

Keep in mind that the purpose of this questionnaire is not to start an argument, but a conversation.  Hopefully, you will use this as a tool to help you get to the heart of what matters most.

Love you lots,


Your Faith

  1. Are you spending time with the Lord each day through prayer and scripture reading?
  2. Are you being quiet enough to hear him speak to you in the depth of your heart or are you busy being distracted?
  3. Have you developed a routine that helps you cultivate your relationship with the Lord
  4. Do you seek God first?
  5. Do you believe his promises? Do you even know his promises?
  6. Are you relying on God or are you relying on your own strength?
  7. Is your talk about the Lord consistent with your walk with the Lord?  Do you say one thing, but do another? (ex. Saying that you are chase and holy, but sleeping over at a young man’s house with his male roommates or dating a girl who is clearly not a believer and not being willing to break it off.)
  8. Are you loving the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength or is your allegiance to your own feelings, the world’s agenda and fulfilling personal goals?
  9. Are you a man/woman of strong faith? If so, how are you showing it? Do I have a consistent bold, witness?
  10. Are you walking in the Spirit or are you gratifying the cravings and desires of your flesh?
  11. Are you honoring God with your body and treating as the temple of the Holy Ghost? (This means that you are not defiling it with premarital sex, drugs, and other things that could damage it.)
  12. In what specific ways are you feeding yourself the truth of God’s Word about sex, intimacy, and holiness?
  13. Are you watching or listening to movies, TV shows, or music that fuels the fire of impure desires? Are you “feeding on” books, magazines, or websites that are polluting your mind and heart?

Your Finances

14. Have you developed a financial plan for your money? If not, are you willing to take a class or workshop or do financial counseling to help get a plan?

15. Do you pay your bills on time?

16. Do you balance your checkbook or bank statement each month? Do you regularly bounce checks or get overdrawn?

17. Do you have an emergency fund of at least $500?

18. Do you borrow money from people on a regular basis because you’ve been slack with managing your own finances?

19. Do you pawn items or get payday or title loans for money to pay for essentials?

20. Do you earn enough money to take care of yourself?

Your friendships (and other relationships)

21. Are you giving your friends of the opposite sex mixed messages? Are you saying one thing, but doing another?

22. Are you abusing your friendship with others? Are you violating boundaries? Are you considerate of your friends time, space, money? (This includes regularly borrowing money, cars, clothes, asking for favors, etc).

23. Are you influencing your significant other and drawing him/her closer to the kingdom of God or is he/she influencing you and drawing you away from God’s best for your life?

24. Are you living a life that points your friends to Jesus and the cross?  Is your behavior a stumbling block to others for salvation?

25. Are you looking for someone to do for you what you should be doing for yourself? Do you want someone to take care of you?

26. Are you in accountable relationships with Bible believing friends? Are you offended when they confront you with something they think is a problem in your life?

27. Are you being a stumbling block to your unbelieving friends? Is your inconsistent walk with the Lord getting in his way of knowing the Savior?

28. Are you allowing your actions to marginalize your witness and be a stumbling block to friends or others who might be watching you?

 Your future

29. What is your calling/passion? What are your God given gifts and what are you doing to develop them?

30. Do you need to go back to school to get more education? Are you pursuing those things diligently or are you wasting time being distracted with trivia?

31. Do you want to marry? If so, what are doing to develop yourself as potential wife or husband?

32. In Ephesians 5:28, Paul says that “husbands ought to love their wives” (NLT). The word ought stresses that this is a very strong obligation. That means through the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit, a husband is commanded to love his wife regardless of how he feels.  Ask yourself, “If I yoke myself to someone who is an unbeliever, how can they do this?”.

33. Do you have a written plan to achieve your future goals?  Have you taken time to write down exactly how you plan to accomplish your dreams?

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