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Summary: Six important gifts to children for successful parenting or raising kids God’s way.

RAISING KIDS GOD’S WAY

Psalm 127:3-4

"Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth"

A Danish proverb notes, "Give to a pig when it grunts and a child when he cries, and you will have a fine pig and a bad child." God is raising children, not pigs.

Our children are both our greatest challenge and our greatest mission field. But here is a question: How do we respond to the evil forces that challenge them? Turn off the TV set? Give them the gift of yourself and strive to include them in your overloaded schedule? Yes, but even more.

For a long while we parents have depended on others to do what we alone can do. We expect schools, churches and organizations to convey values and provide an educational framework. We expect that our offspring will absorb whatever is necessary to succeed in life, and so we pay for it-tuition for education, music lessons, karate and sports. We also provide computers, eighteen-speed bicycles, basketballs and the latest digital audio equipment. But often neglected is the personal element of parental love and of the deeper lessons of what life is all about, including the spiritual.

If you love your child, there are six gifts which you should give him-gifts which cost nothing in terms of money but are very costly in the currency of time, energy, and emotion. Incidentally, all of these six are important when it comes to successful parenting or growing kids God’s way.

I. The gift of yourself

Some parents give almost everything to their kids but the gift of themselves. Their kids have the latest in clothes, TVs, Play Station games and DVDs-all kinds of things, but lack the mom or dad. The gift of yourself is really the gift of love.

Dr. Ross Campbell, psychiatrist and author of the book How to Really Love Your Child, says that he has never treated an adolescent involved in sexual misconduct who felt really loved by parents. Stop long enough for a reality check: How much of yourself do you give to the child you brought into the world?

When a child knows that he is really loved and will be accepted regardless of what happens, it gives him a stability which makes it easier for him to stand on his own two feet and dare to be different.

II. The gift of self-esteem

When a little boy about five years of age went out to dinner with his parents and the waiter took his order along with those of his parents, the little boy later commented, "Ngee, Dad, he thinks I’m a real person!"

Very early in life we learn self-esteem or self-depreciation. "What a pretty baby you are!" or "What pretty eyes you have!" can later turn into, "How come you got a B- on your report card?" overlooking the five A’s that are there. Build self-esteem in your child by...

-avoiding comparisons with other kids.

-telling your youngster how proud you are of him when he does well.

-accepting him just the same in a failure situation as you would in success

-being patient and having realistic expectations

-realizing that every youngster matures at a different rate.

Help your child understand who he is in relation to you, God and family. This involves handling failures, knowing how to be independent and having the proper tension between living relevant lives and the pressures of conformity. It also means knowing what the distance between your home and the world should be.

III. The gift of self-reliance

Your goal as a parent should be to grow a kid so strong that when you aren’t there, he won’t need you! "Just say no!" kids are told when their hormones and their peers say, "Why not?" Frankly, your child will have about the same emotional strength as does your family. Remember, he’s the product of you who are parents, and when you are strong emotionally, you pass that strength on to him.

Realize that everything you do affects the emotional strength of your child. One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is to love your spouse. This puts to rest one of the greatest fears of kids today-the fear that Mommy and Daddy may not stay together.

IV. The gift of discerning value versus worth

Offer a four-year old a bright red toy car or a crisp new $100 bill. Which will he take? Obviously, the bright toy. But as he grows older he’s got, to learn the difference between satisfying his biological urges and realizing the cost, in terms of life, which his decision may bring. It is here that faith in God and an understanding of their true worth in God’s sight and in the minds of their parents are positive forces for good.

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