Take a look at today’s headlines and you will read about children and drug abuse. You will read about teen alcohol abuse, and you will read about violence in the youth culture. Municipalities create stricter laws, increase law enforcement presence, and establish curfews, but the abuse and violence continues. What is the answer? How can we curb this societal trend? I believe the answer lies close to home, specifically the home. Home is the way to solve many of society’s ills. Looking back through Biblical history and we see that Israel fell because of a lack of influence at home or a lack of respect at home: Judges 2:10, “And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.”
I hear parents and grandparents say, “Children don’t come with instructions.” I beg to differ! There is an instruction manual, composed by our Creator. Parenting done right is parenting God’s way.
- Prepare to Parent. Be who you should be before you parent. God chose Mary and Joseph because they prepared. Joseph a just and righteous man (Matt 1:19). Mary found favor in God’s eyes (Luk 1:28-30). Preparation includes preparing your children for life. This life preparation starts with training – disciplining your children. Discipline includes correction, Pro 29:15-17, “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. When the wicked increase, transgression increases, but the righteous will look upon their downfall. Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.” Dicipline includes education, including physical, classical, mental, emotional, behavioral, and spiritual education. Pro 4:1-4, “Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live.”
- Pattern as Parents. Teaching is imperative, but an example gives teaching substance. Timothy’s mother and grandmother lived faith in his presence, (2Ti 1:5). “Do as I say not as I do” will not work. It is inconsistent to teach children not to lie, but lie to them about punishment or tell them to lie to caller asking to speak to you. It is inconsistent to teach them not to do drugs, but have your “adult beverages” or a tobacco dependency. Our children do not need “excuses” to sin. We must be diligent to “practice what we preach.”
- Persistent Parenting. Stay with God’s plan! Pro 22:6 famously states, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” That statement is a generally observable rule. There are exceptions, but we are more likely to raise responsible adults when we are persistent in out parenting. We do not stop being a parent! I read this recently, “When I was 14 my dad was ignorant and an embarrassment. When I was 21 it was amazing how much he learned in 7 years.” There is a lot of truth to that sentiment. Our children need us to parent not to simply be a friend.
- Pray as a Parent. “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phi 4:5-7. Pray for your children before they are born. Pray for them while they are young. Pray for their future (spouse, job, children, etc.). Pray while they are still at home. Pray for them as they leave. Pray they will remain faithful. Pray they will return if they stray. Without ceasing PRAY.
Start Now! It is not too late!