Summary: Part 3 in series Relationships That Work. This message looks at the challenge of raising spiritually healthy children.

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Discipling Our Children

Relationships that Work, part 3

Wildwind Community Church

David K. Flowers

June 3, 2007

I want to begin this morning by calling your attention to the title of today’s message. Chris, would you show that please? Notice it is not “disciplining” our children, but rather “discipling” our children. They come from the same root word, which means “to learn.” When we discipline our children, we teach them how to act and speak properly, and hopefully how to exercise proper control over themselves. But when we disciple our children, we teach them that God loves them, that God created them for a reason and has a purpose for their lives.

I think these two happen together and enhance one another, but it is not discipline but rather discipleship I want to talk to you about this morning. In the words of Haley Scarnato from American Idol, it’s easy to just “clock in and clock out” with our children. It’s easy to just drift through life. They live in our house, after all. We can’t have every moment be super intense. The routines in our lives – get the kids up, supervise them getting ready for school, get them on the bus or drop them off, arrange pickup, get dinner on, homework, evening stuff back up at the school, set out clothes for the next school day, in bed, repeat – the routines seem to offer us plenty to do. It takes discipline for our children to get through every day, to meet all the obligations they have. As parents we have to make sure they know what to do and that they do it, on top of disciplining ourselves to get our own stuff done! But I wonder if maybe sometimes we overlook some of the most important things. I wonder if as we discipline our children, we sometimes neglect to really disciple them.

Parenting is a sensitive issue. First of all, it’s something few of us ever receive any formal training for. You’ve heard and thought a thousand times before, probably, how strange it is that you have to spend the first thirteen years of your life, at least, in school learning the skills you will need to get along in this world and that probably in that entire time you will not learn much, if anything, about parenting. Nor will you learn about marriage. You’ll spend between 13 and 17 years going to school, but a lifetime being a spouse and parent, yet you will receive pretty much zero training for those things – unless you seek out that training on your own.

Because most of us are never taught how to parent, what do we do? We do the only thing we possibly COULD do, which is parent our children the way our parents parented us! Now for some of our children, this is very bad news. My guess is that those of you who did not receive good parenting already know this, and are probably frustrated every time you say or do something that reminds you of your mom or dad. Yet because we receive so little training, we just don’t know how to do this job. Which is a huge bummer, because when we worked at McDonald’s, someone taught us to flip a hamburger. At the record store where I worked in the early 90’s, I was taught how to help a customer find obscure music. We all receive precise training for anything we do in this world that is worth doing. But when it comes to the thing we do that is worth more than anything else we’ll ever undertake, that will make the biggest impact on this world that we will ever leave, it’s sink or swim. Get married. Have yourself some sex and make a baby. Go to the hospital and have the baby and listen to the sage advice of the nurses for a few hours. Then go home and guess what? You’re on your own. Your wheelchair pusher guy standing there on the curb, waving you off. Good luck to you. I hope you don’t stink at this. Few of us ever learn to be a parent. Except in the school of hard knocks. And because few of us ever learn, most of us go into this completely ignorant of what is going to happen and how to deal with it when it does.

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