Summary: Be a great Parent! It does not require that you spend $thousands, go exotic places, or do wild things. But it demands lots of wisdom (which God freely provides to those who ask Him for it), great courage, and tons of stamina. Take these three w
Parenting - a calling that is not for cowards
Parents - I want to talk to you this morning. I feel a little like the man who reportedly said, “Before I was married I had three theories about raising children. Now I have three children and no theories.” Ever feel that way? More times than I want to admit, I’ve wondered if I was equal to the task of raising my children in a godly way.
Occasionally Bev and I were ready to turn in our parenting resignation, but we couldn’t find anyone to accept it! If that’s where you are, Mom or Dad, I’d encourage you to hang in there. It does get better. Apart from my wife, there are no others in the world I love like my children and grandchildren - and, as you know, there are no others who have caused me to cry more tears and feel more anxiety! I love being a Dad and now, a Grandpa.
Nothing I do in this world has provided me more pleasure to me than my children. Part of the reason for that is that we chose to be parents in a godly way. I’d like to share some of His wisdom and our experience with you today.
I am much in debt to Larry Christenson, author of The Christian Family, for the seed thoughts of this message. His understanding of the Bible as it relates to the family is phenomenal.
Parent - there are three words are what I want to impress on you this morning:
Train, Discipline, and Love. (Repeat those with me, please.)
1. TRAIN your children.
God says- "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."
(Proverbs 22:6, NIV)
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Except for two major things -
1. Children do not like to be trained, and 2. One size does not fit all!
Bev and I raised four children and they could not be more different. Despite coming from the same home, being taught the same lessons, they are unique. My oldest son is a serious man, a family man whose greatest joy is being with his wife. He married young, fathered two children, bought a home, fixed it up, and went to work. My second son, just 20 months younger, is the adventurer. He finished a four year degree in 6 or 7 years at three different colleges, with breaks in between to visit places like Costa Rica and the Solomon Islands. If you mention children to him he breaks out in a fearful sweat! Chrissy is our driven child, the one who like achievement and measures herself by marathons! Maribel is even more different from the rest of them.
Early on, it became apparent that the methods we used to train each child would be very different.
But there are common threads that all parents will observe in keeping God’s command to train their children.
It seems that instruction never ends when you’re parenting. An astounding amount of information needs to be downloaded into the child’s brain in those first few years of life. Manners, hygiene, tying shoes, times tables, driving cars, using computers, recognizing danger.... the list seems endless. Those responsibilities ought to be obvious to each parent.
Parent, if you have prepared your child for success in life and forgotten to prepare him for eternity, you have failed at the most important point! The ancient Israelites were told -
“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads." (Deuteronomy 6:6-8, NIV) In a wonderful way, that passage tells us that we cannot separate daily life from godly life. We must instruct our children in the ways of God, everywhere and in everything we do.
In this age of relativism and exaggerated individualism, many parents have a real reluctance about instructing their children in virtue, helping them to understand that there is a God in Heaven who desires them to live holy and submitted lives. Your kids need to know that there is a right way to live and a wrong way to live.
I’m amazed at conversations I have with older teens from time to time about life choices, only to discover that they know little about the importance of moral excellence.
They don’t understand that integrity is an important choice, that truthfulness is not negotiable!
In this time of sexual promiscuity, many do not know that having sex outside of marriage is morally wrong.
When it suggested to some that they learn to give away a significant percentage of their income to the