Summary: The second of a series on parenting and this one deals with affirmation.
“THE TOOL OF AFFIRMATION”
TEXT: Ephesians 5: 25-29
Sunday, June 30, 2002
We continue our series on parenting and raising children. Of course, all of us play a role in parenting, whether we have children or grandchildren or children that we work with. We need to parent collectively.
Last week we talked about the important tool of discipline. I think of discipline as a hammer but one thing I forgot to mention last week about discipline is the pattern that you use when you discipline. Your children should know the rules so that they know exactly what they did wrong. If they know the rules, then they know when they break the rules and that’s why they try to hide it. It is important for you to tell your children what they did, and the consequences should be predetermined ahead of time for certain actions or attitudes. Administer the punishment, whatever that is. If you use corporal punishment, it should be only one, two or three whacks on the doupa, usually in rapid succession but not very hard, just enough to produce a little bit of redness. This really does work. End by reminding them what they did wrong and what behavior you expect, and then give them a nice, warm hug, especially if you use corporal punishment.
I want to begin today with the importance of affirmation which is the second tool. If we are committed to loving but firm discipline, then it is important for us to balance this with affirmation.
Dorothy Briggs writes in Your Child’s Self-Esteem, “All parents want their children to avoid the big mistakes–becoming delinquents, alcoholics and drug-abusers. Yet, parents want more than that. They want their children to succeed at school and at work, they want their children to have inner confidence and healthy relationships, a sense of purpose and meaning and, for Christians, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in their lives.”
This is what all parents want, but we find it difficult to figure out how to make this possible. With a lot of research, they have found time and time again how to make all this possible. The “how” is building high self-esteem in your children. She defines self-esteem as “How a person feels about him or herself. High self-esteem is not noisy conceit, which is actually a mask for low self-esteem, but is a quiet sense of self-respect, a feeling of self-worth. When you have it, you are glad you are you, and with high self-esteem, you don’t waste time and energy impressing others, you already know that you have value.”
Beyond a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, there is no more valuable gift than instilling in our young people a high sense of self-worth. There are tons of books that have been written on the issue of developing self-esteem, and I won’t deal with them here because you can read them for yourself. What I want to look at is whether God’s word promotes a sense of high self-esteem. If God’s word promotes it, then it is a worthy thing for us to instill in our children. You will find many passages in the Bible talking about high self-esteem.
Romans 12:13 talks about having sober judgment and a realistic picture. Genesis 1:26 and 27 remind us that we are created in God’s image; it will produce high self-esteem if you realize that. John 1:12-13 reminds us that we have the potential to be children of God. Think about that! Psalm 8 which we just read reminds us to consider the heavens and all that was done for us. Think of the effort God expended on our behalf simply through creation. In John 3:16, think of what God was willing to do for you and your redemption. It is amazing what God has done for us. Hebrews 1:14 tells us that God has provided angels to watch over us. That’s demonstration of God’s intimate care. John 14:1-3 says that he has personally prepared a place just for you. Psalm 139 tells us that we were fearfully and wonderfully made. Romans 8:37 reminds us that we are not losers but that we are more than conquerors through him who saved us. Leviticus 19:18 reminds us that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. Scripture assumes that you will love yourself.
Another passage that I would like to look at this morning is Ephesians 5:25-29. The context of the last part of Ephesians 5 is God’s teaching on the home. He talks about wives and husbands, and then he talks about husbands. Notice the order–if your home is not in order, then you will have difficulty raising your children. However, if your home is in order and your relationship with your spouse is right, things will go well with your family. Fathers particularly need to encourage their children.