Clearly there are numerous books on raising children. Many have world views and some gems have biblical foundations in their writings. My wife and I have relatives that told us (pre-kids) that you do your best parenting before kids. We did the proverbial laugh and thought that we had it all figured out. That, as you know, was not entirely so. Kids are hard work. Kids teach us a lot and if you asked me before kids, during it now and or when they are grown if I would change my view on having children, my response will always be the same - I wouldn't trade them for the world. The older I get (I am in my mid-forties now), the more I believe that God gives us the right to parent in order to show us just how much He loves us. For instance, when our kids really screw up or make huge mistakes, my initial thought is that I want to scream and sometimes (depending on the infraction) put them through the proverbial drywall. That is, until I realize to my self and say, "Self, this is how you make God feel about you (ALL THE TIME!). My posture changes, I calm down and show them love. Truth in love to be precise.
The Bible doesn't specifically spell it our for us on how to parent, BUT it does give us a really strong foundation:
Make your faith real:
- Proverbs 22:6 ESV Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
- Deuteronomy 6:7 ESV You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
- Psalm 127:3-5 ESV Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
- 2 Timothy 3:16 ESV All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
- 2 Timothy 3:14-17 ESV But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
- Matthew 19:14 ESV But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
- Romans 8:28 ESV And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Do not provoke your children:
- Ephesians 6:4 ESV Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
- Colossians 3:21 ESV Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
Give them boundaries (don’t be afraid to discipline and say no):
- Proverbs 29:15 ESV The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
- Proverbs 23:13 ESV Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.
- Proverbs 13:24 ESV Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
- Proverbs 29:17 ESV Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.
- Proverbs 22:15 ESV Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.
- Proverbs 19:18 ESV Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.
- Proverbs 15:5 ESV A fool despises his father's instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.
- Proverbs 20:11 ESV Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.
- Pray for God to call them to be his children
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide them to the truth
- Pray for their safety and wisdom
- Pray for their future spouses
- Pray for their ears and hearts to understand God's truth
Shepherd your child's heart (there is a book on this):
- Don't try to shape their behavior, instead challenge the way they think
- Don't try to argue them into submission, be consistent with your words and discipline
- Do encourage them to live a life worthy of God
- Do comfort them (give them love, security and warmth)
- Do urge them to live a life worthy of God
Parents that I respect the most are the ones who lead humble lives and have children that are jewels on their crowns. Does that mean that they got everything right? Of course not, but you can tell that there is something different with these parents. Something worth looking into and perhaps asking them to mentor us on...
What are some of your lists?