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Summary: This message looks at how we can better love our kids.

The song, of course, is “Love and Marriage” written by Sammy Cahn and performed by Frank Sinatra in 1955, but the music has been used for a number of television commercials through the years including Ban brand roll-on antiperspirant, Duncan Hines Chocolate Chip cookies, Campbells Soup and Kellogg's Fruit 'n Fibre breakfast cereal. Who would have thought?

My oldest niece has a philosophy, actually, she has many philosophies but I’m only going to share one with you today. Her philosophy on parenting is this: The government should put birth control in the water and people would have to pass a parenting test in order to get bottled water.

Makes sense to me, we make people take tests to drive a car, fly a plane and pilot a boat. We even make people take a test to babysit but. . . any idiot can have a baby and many do. 400 years ago Samuel Butler wrote, “Parents are the last people on earth who ought to have children.”

This is week five our love and marriage series. So far we looked at what makes a biblical marriage, and what a biblical marriage isn’t. Week two’s message was “Sex God’s wedding Gift” and looked at the purposes of sex inside of marriage and the problems with sex outside of marriage. Then we spent a little time with the 5 Love Languages and last week Stefan did a great job laying out how to lead your children into a relationship with Jesus.

This week we are going to be looking at “Love and Parenting”, because really those of us who have children want to be good parents, and now as a grandparent I hope my children will be good parents.

And it’s probably unfair, but from my view as a grandparent I probably expect my kids to be a better parent then I was. And the reality is that I am probably harder on myself in regards to the type of parent I was then Stephen and Deborah are.

There isn’t a lot of advice on parenting in the scripture but there is some. A lot of times what we have are stories, stories of good families and stories of bad families. But the scripture that was read this morning has some helpful advice for those of us who have chosen parenthood or have had parenthood thrust upon us.

As parents we rather enjoy the first part of the scripture, the part about children obeying their parents and honouring their mothers and fathers. We want that to be their life verse, and it is a good verse, but it’s not what we are talking about this week, this week we are talking about the last part of that scripture, that part that says in Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

Interesting choice of words here; do not provoke your children to anger. In the New King James Version it says Ephesians 6:4 NKJV And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

And the New International Version reads this way Ephesians 6:4 NIV Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

And if you can remember being a child you can remember being exasperated with your parents and there were probably times that you were angry with your parents. It was Bette Davis who said, “If you have never been hated by your child, you have never been a parent.”

And sometimes it’s not a bad thing for your kids to be angry with you; you did the parent thing and you put your foot down.

You were right, and you did it for the right reason and they were angry with you and they probably didn’t understand and if they did understand they would still be angry and that’s just the way it is. I think the technical term for that is “tough” and sometimes the answer to “Why” is “Because I am your parent.” End of discussion.

And sometimes it has nothing to do with being fair and it has nothing to do with being their friend because your first priority is not to be your child’s friend it is to be your child’s parent. Because friends don’t always have your kid’s best interest at heart. I bought my son a T-shirt years ago that sums it up and it says, “Actually friends let friends do lots of stupid things.”

But then there is the other side of the coin where we drive our kids nuts. The side where we exasperate our kids by our behaviour. And we have a responsibility to do right by our kids. And that is an incredible responsibility.

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