October 9, 2014

Instructive Parental Words

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 9, 2014

When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him. 1 Kings 2:1-3

The words we say to our children have a lasting affect. Like a meal nourishes our body, appropriate words from a parent feeds a child’s soul. Of course, what we say needs to be backed up by what we do. Our parental behavior is a blueprint to apply what we describe with our words. So, when we tell our child to obey God no matter what–they are able to watch our unconditional obedience no matter the cost. Parental words mean the most when a child observes them in action in mom and dad. Our words provide instruction for our children to make the best choices.

David, though imperfect throughout his life–acknowledged his sins, repented and received the Lord’s restoring grace. His son Solomon saw a dad whose heart was hard after God, in spite of his adultery, deception and murder. Now at the end of his life this loving father admonished his son to avoid dad’s immature mistakes as a younger man: “Act like a man,” David says. Be true to your wife, be engaged with your children, avoid sin and run toward God. Men who take their faith seriously grow into men of character. They live in a way their last words mean something.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7).

What gifts of speech does your child need from you? Make sure to prayerfully parse your words, so you bypass fluffy generalities or inappropriate details. For example, boldly admonish your son or daughter as they transition into the teen years. Instead of glibly stating they can do anything in life, perhaps a better phrase is: “God has uniquely gifted you and placed within your heart His passion and desires. Ask Him to lead you into His will for your life and you will experience the Lord’s best.” Better for our child to follow God’s call than a career counter to His will.

Moreover, wise parents take the time to have conversations with their child. We learn to bend toward their timetable for communication and not our efficient calendar. We listen to their struggles and offer words of comfort. We seek to understand the spirit behind their words. We hear them ask permission to attend an event, but sense  hesitation in their heart. So, we may ask if they really want to go. If they say no, we say no. Most of all, we patiently help a child understand why they need to love and obey Christ. When we are gone, our words remain.

“Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the mind and healing to the body” (Proverbs 16:24, Amplified Bible).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the words to say to my children to feed their souls and lift their spirits.

Related Readings: Genesis 18:19; Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 4:6; John 6:68; Ephesians 6:4

Post/Tweet today: Parental instruction means the most when a child sees mom and dad live it out. #wisdomhunters

Additional Resource: 2 minute video- 50 famous Parental Sayings: http://tinyurl.com/ok4effe

Order our new book, The Way of Wisdom: A Journey Towards Spiritual Growth, just out          October 1st! Boyd’s one minute book video- http://bit.ly/1nhZ2bt

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