Christian Parenting - To Choose
Christian parents face the difficult task of raising children in a world of "correctness." In the past, children grew up in a society that clearly defined what was right and what was wrong. Parents were recognized as the primary authority figure in their children's lives. Now as the world conforms, our children react to the unprecedented immorality, anti-family, and anti-parent concepts in schools and media.
Parents show increasing concern as their children are encouraged to shun strict rules and biblical truths. Whenever the application of God's laws is mentioned, a flurry of organizations warn parents not to impose their own values upon their children. But the Christian parent understands the wickedness of exchanging God's truth for a lie. The Bible speaks of the "insolent, arrogant, and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents..." (Romans 1:30). Rebellion and disobedience are just as pervasive today as parental authority disintegrates. Today, parents must choose who and what shapes their children's lives. Without a doubt, God still holds parents responsible for their children - to instruct them and to discipline them.
Christian Parenting - To Instruct
In the Old Testament, Moses reminds the Israelites of their responsibility to their children and grandchildren. "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them" (Deuteronomy 4:9-10). We would all like to believe that our children will make the right choices based on lessons taught. If our child found a dollar bill at the playground, what would he do with it? What sort of "measuring rod" will a child apply as his benchmark for honesty? Perhaps that child will recall how his father returned over-paid change to a cashier.
When we instruct our children, we are not simply presenting a list of rules to follow. We are letting our "actions speak" by training them according to God's standards. By living a righteous life, parents provide their children with the understanding of how God's rules govern all our lives. Then, as our children mature, they develop a habit of doing right, serving God by making their own decisions.
It is the goal of every parent to see their children accept responsibility for their decisions. If our children learn from their mistakes and accept godly correction, then we are on the right course. One father tried to take a short-cut in explaining responsibility by saying, "It's not what you do, but whether or not you get caught. And if you get caught. . .be willing to pay the consequences!" Obviously, there's no fast-track for instructing children. Parental instruction is an arduous journey that begins at birth and continues for many years. And there may be countless times when our children make careless decisions and even choose to reject instruction. These are the times when discipline is most necessary.
Christian Parenting - To Discipline
Theories on "correct" discipline change every few years - the Bible never changes. If children do not obey, they must receive correction. The Bible teaches this should be done by using a rod of correction. "The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother" (Proverbs 29:15). Often parents become weary disciplining young children. At times, a typical day seems to consist of nagging and scolding. Parents wonder if they have ruined every chance for a loving relationship with their children. They may even be tempted to give up altogether. "Only God knows what to do with this child," they groan. YES GOD DOES!!
God chooses each parent with great care. "For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just..." (Genesis 18:19). God entrusts your children to your specific care. He wants you to know that kind, firm correction will train your children to obey Him. "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord" (Colossians 3:20). Consistent, loving correction helps children learn biblical truths like self-discipline. God knew Abraham would raise godly children and God blessed him. By applying God's standards, we too can receive God's blessings as parents.