Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Psalms 127:4 NASU
Let’s face it… parenting is tough. It’s brutal. It’s exhausting. It is one of the most important things we do. As a parent, I want nothing more than for my kids to be all that God wants them to be. The question is: “How do you do that?” This is a list that I have gleaned from scripture and Godly counsel. It is solid.
1. Model everything you want them to take seriously. If you want your kids to love God, then you must love God. Let them see and hear you pray. If you want your kids to serve, then you make it a point to serve (without griping). If you want your kids to be generous then you must be generous. Model everything.
2. Give them less. Meet needs not wants. Overindulging our kids makes them feel entitled to what they get. The learning curve for the kid that thinks he or she deserves everything will be very steep in the real world. Stop handicapping your kids with stuff.
3. Partner with others. Putting your kids under the influence of others who love God is a powerful tool in reinforcing their commitment to God. Have them in student ministry every time the doors are open. Send them to camp (even if they don’t want to go). Have them around men or women who love God. Partner with others as you mold your kid into the image of Christ. How many hours each week is the world and your Enemy influencing your kids? That’s the problem, work to even out the time.
- What if they don’t want to go? It’s not their choice, you’re the parent. My kids get to pick what they do when they can pay their own bills and live in their own house. Stop giving options.
4. Stop pretending they are adults. You do your kids no favors by pretending they are adults. I have watched parents let their kids surf the internet with no supervision, date when they are 10, give them cell phones as soon as they can push the buttons, all because the kids are treated as if they are adults. Kids have been on the planet for a short time, they don’t know what you know (or what you should know). That is the very reason you are in the place you are in so YOU CAN PARENT. Because they can talk and spell doesn’t mean they can make adult decisions. You should make the lion’s share of those decisions until they leave your home.
5. Keep the Word open and out front. There is no substitute for God’s Word to change lives. Read the Bible with your family constantly, and consistently.
6. Know your identity in Christ and parent out of THAT IDENTITY. Many parents parent out of guilt because of their past failure, so they give their kids things that are not good for them. It is sort of a way of paying for their mistakes. That guilt prevents parents from disciplining consistently so the kids develop a false idea of what right and wrong is. You must discover who you are in Christ. You are FORGIVEN, you are LOVABLE, you are more than a CONQUERER, you have a FUTURE. Parent out of grace, not guilt. Not setting standards for your kids to live by isn’t helping them but hurting them.
7. Teach them to take risks. Following Christ is anything but safe. Teach them that He is worth everything so accept nothing as a substitute. Walk away from the things the world chases after to pursue Him every time. Teach your kids you will ‘off anything like a dirty shirt’ for the cause of Christ. Radical faith proves what is truly important. 401k, insurance, stability, good job, careers are all smoke and mirrors to make us feel like things are settled here, they are not. You can lose your job, the stock market can crash, your career can end, and insurance can refuse to pay. Only Jesus is worth living for. Teach them that by every time God calls you to act… you do it.
Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Proverbs 22:6 NIV