Summary: Here are four ways parents can make a significant difference in their children’s lives.

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On February 19, 1979, a small plane crashed into Ontario Peak in the San Gabriel Mountains, and a ten-hour story of death, courage, and survival began. The passengers of that Cessna 172 included the pilot, a young woman, an attorney, and his eleven-year-old son. The pilot and the attorney were killed in the crash. The boy said he knew his father was dead when he tried to rouse him and “he wouldn’t wake up.” The boy and the young woman huddled in the snow near the plane for seven hours, hoping to be rescued. Finally they decided they must attempt the treacherous descent of the mountain or freeze to death. Shortly after they began, the woman fell 350 feet to her death. The boy, all 75 pounds of him, was lost and all alone on a mountain in the freezing cold. Bloody and bruised, broken bones in both hands, his father lying dead a few feet away—what was he to do? He never gave up. He slid most of the way down the mountain on the seat of his pants, clutching a stick in his fractured hands. Whenever he began to slide too fast, he wedged the stick in the snow as a brake. About 5 p.m. he was found near a village at the foot of the mountain and rushed to a hospital. Wet, bloody, and exhausted, he was still very much alive.

Before his release from the hospital there was a news conference. The boy encountered a barrage of questions about his ordeal. How did he find the courage to go on? Didn’t he feel like quitting? He answered simply, “I’m alive today because my dad taught me never to give up.” [Copied from Discipleship Journal. Copyright © 2000 by The Navigators. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved.” John Carpenter]

What is it you want to leave your children when you are gone? What kind of a mark do you want to leave for your children that will impact them? That’s what I want to talk about tonight: how you as a parent can leave a lasting impression on your children.

I don’t have to tell you that raising children is a challenge. Now, I am not a parent but I am a child and I know how difficult I made it for my parents to parent me. I am in no way saying that I am an expert in parenting. Pastor Tony Evans told the story about the difficulties of parenting. He said there was a preacher whose favorite sermon was, “The Ten Commandments for Parenting.” But that was before he got married. Then he married and had his first child. The preachers changed his message to, “The Ten Hints for Parents.” Then he had his second child. Now he preached on the “Ten Suggestions for Parents.” Then he had his third child—and stopped preaching! It’s a different story when you have to do it yourself.

So I come to you tonight not as an expert in parenting but as a messenger of the expert in parenting. I want to share with you though God’s word how you can make a significant difference in your home.

Let’s read Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” In Colossians 3:21 Paul exhorts fathers to “do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”

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