Summary: Your children should not live without you love, time, and discipline.
Murphy’s Laws of Parenting:
• The shoes you must replace today will go on sale next week.
• The chances of a piece of bread falling with the jelly side down are directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.
• The garbage truck will be two doors past your house when your teen remembers it’s his turn to take out the trash.
• The shirt your child must wear today will be the only one that needs to be washed or mended.
• The item your child lost, and must have for school within the next ten seconds, will be found in the last place you think to look.
• Sick children recover miraculously when the doctor enters the treatment room.
• Your chances of being seen by someone you know dramatically increase if you drive your child to school without fixing your hair.
One pastor tells the following story: “My wife was busy one evening pursuing her hobby of making porcelain dolls at a doll-making class, leaving me at home to watch our two children, Melinda, age seven, and Craig, age five. While I was chatting with a neighbor on the front porch, the phone rang. I was proud to hear Craig answer the phone promptly and politely. My pride vanished as I heard my son’s response to the caller’s request to speak to my wife: ‘No, my mom’s not here. She’s out making a baby. But my dad is here if you want to talk to him.’ Naturally, the phone call was from one of the elders of our church!” (Perfect Illustrations for Every Topic and Occasion, p. 35).
John Wilmot, the Earl of Rochester said, “Before I was married I had three theories about raising children. Now I have three children and no theories.” We’re all experts on parenting until we become parents. Then we realize it’s not as easy as we thought.
God values families:
• When God created Adam and Eve, He brought then together as husband and wife and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply, to create a family.
• When God gave the Ten Commandments, He put the command to honor one’s parents right in the middle (fifth).
• When God sent His one and only Son to earth, He put Him into a human family with a mother and a father.
• When God chose from all the names and relationships in our human vocabulary to describe Himself, He chose the title “Father.”
• When families fail, God steps in. Psalm 68:5 says, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”
Let me make one statement before I begin: I do not claim to be a perfect parent.
Three necessities your children shouldn’t live without:
1. YOUR LOVE
A paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 for parents: “If I offer the best parental advice, but have not love, I am only a two-year-old banging on a dishpan. If I read every book on parenting, and if I attend every parenting conference, but have not love, I am nothing. If I spend all my salary to provide the best for my children, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
John Lennon wrote a song called “Love.” In it he said,
Love is real, real is love
Love is feeling, feeling love
Love is wanting to be loved
But listen to what Lennon’s son, Julian Lennon, said about his father: “I felt he was a hypocrite. Dad could talk about peace and love out loud to the world, but he could never show it to the people who supposedly meant the most to him: his wife and son. How can you talk about peace and love and have a family in bits and pieces—no communication, adultery, divorce? You can’t do it, not if you’re being true and honest with yourself” (Perfect Illustrations for Every Topic and Occasion, p. 89).
Ninety-nine percent of parents will say that they love their children (I’m sure John Lennon would have said he loved his son), but love is more than a feeling; love is an action. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16a). God showed that He loves us by His action of giving His Son for us.
Are our children seeing loving actions in our homes? Dan Benson, in his book The Total Man, surveyed a number of families and found that for every positive statement made in the homes there were ten negative ones. We have an amazing capacity to be critical. We need to learn to see the positive in our children and to frequently praise their strengths rather than continually harping on their weaknesses. First Corinthians 8:1 says, “Love builds up.”
“As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers [the household of faith, KJV]” (Gal. 6:10). We can apply this verse to our families, our households.