Summary: This message is helpful for parents, grandparents, and others who have input into the lives of children; but especially for parents.
TEN STEPS TO EFFECTIVE PARENTING
Pastor Eric J. Hanson
February 17, 2008
Here are ten needed realities concerning the raising of the children God entrusts us with. Read, be blessed, use any way you wish!
1. You must love the Lord (Matthew 22:37-38)
You must know the Lord and be walking with Him yourself. Out of the overflow of that primary relationship you need to train your children, from earliest childhood, to know, love, and serve the Lord.
2. Have Patience. (James 1:3-4)
Raising children well requires endless repetition of certain basics. It requires much investment of time and emotional resources. It requires consistency on your part, in order to obtain good results.
3. Be an example of God’s love. (John 3:16)
a. Love at all times, including times of discipline.
b. Be a giver, rather than a taker. Model unselfishness.
c. Share the Gospel with others.
4. Teach your children to have goals. (Proverbs 29:18)
There are little simple goals which are appropriate for younger children. More ambitious goals follow later. It is important that goals be achievable and age appropriate. It is also important that you be clearly there, emotionally engaged and supportive of your children and grandchildren as they work toward these age appropriate and worthy goals.
5. Teach about the next life. Make it very real to them.
a. There is a Heaven. (Revelation 4)
b. There is a Hell. (Matthew 10:28)
Make it clear that you want them to be in Heaven with you, and that you fully intend to be there yourself. Live it! If a young person becomes a great success in an earthly career, maybe becoming rich, but misses Heaven, they have failed at life. Don’t neglect this.
6. Teach and model for them what love entails. (I Corinthians 13)
It is important that children learn that love and permissiveness are not one and the same. Sometimes love means saying no to certain requests and desires. Love includes teaching our children that choices have consequences. Sometimes love requires holding children responsible for their choices. Without this, self control does not get learned. Godly love has healthy boundaries. On the other hand, love sometimes means some delightful surprise, like an unexpected trip to the ice cream stand when it is 90 degrees out. Modeling love especially means loving your husband or wife properly. Kindness and gentleness toward your spouse; and believing for the best in him or her, is essential to creating emotional wholeness in your son or daughter. Godly love is unselfishness in action, and it is always considerate of others.
7. Have faith concerning your child’s future, rather than fear. (Romans 1:17)
Demonstrate, by means of your words and your attitudes, that you believe your child will “turn out right”. Have faith that your child will indeed live according to God’s word. Have faith that God himself is your senior partner in this matter of parenting, and that He will keep working in your child’s life.
8. Honor your own parents before your children. (Exodus 20:12)
Even if your parents are dead, it is very important that you model this. By the way, this command still applies even if your parents did not do a good job of raising you. God did not attach conditions to Exodus 20:12. Honoring someone is not the same thing as saying that they never did anything wrong. It is not hypocritical to honor imperfect people. It is, in fact, both constructive and instructive to model respect and love toward your own parents.
9. Be submissive toward authority. (Matthew 8:9)
If you are not, our child will not learn this essential principle of life. You need to model proper submission in the home, starting with Ephesians 5:21, which reads “submitting yourself one to another in the fear of God”. You also need to be submissive to government, to workplace authority, and to spiritual authority. You may remember that the Centurion, who came to Jesus with a need in his life, recognized that Jesus had authority BECAUSE it was obvious to him, that Jesus was under authority. One caveat at this point: When earthly authorities seek to get you to do sinful things, lying to customers, engaging in cheating, etc, they have violated a higher authority. You need to respectfully let it be known that you cannot go along. God is your ultimate authority.
10. Don’t provoke your children. (Ephesians 6:4)
Don’t be a screamer. Don’t be a name caller. Don’t angrily slap, shake, push, or hit them. Don’t say negative things about their future; things which sound predictive such as, “You are well on your way to becoming a bum! You’ll probably end up in jail!” I can’t tell you how many people I have counseled whose parents told them that they would never amount to anything. Twenty or forty years later, these words still hurt. Such provoking of children is extremely harmful. Those who have been put down, tend to either one of two extremes. The first of these is to fulfill the negative words, and be paralyzed from amounting to anything. The second extreme is an unbalanced workaholism which comes from an inner voice which says, “I’ll show them!” “I’ll show them all!” Neither is healthy. Neither is good fruit. Don’t provoke your children. Love them, train them, and be on their team.