Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 22, 2019
Dedicate your children to God and point them in the way that they should go, and the values they’ve learned from you will be with them for life. Proverbs 22:6, The Passion Translation
Parenting is not for the faint of heart. Questions related to our child’s best interests are like ocean waves crashing against the seashore of our mind and emotions: How much screen time? How to choose the best friendships? How to balance time between studies, sports, friends and family? How to instill foundational Christian values that are embraced, not rejected? How to grow a healthy marriage so we are able to provide healthy emotional support for our children?
Here are four helpful values I have seen work in our family and in other growing families:
Family is our relational laboratory where we learn how to love others. We experiment, we enjoy successes and endure failures, but all the while we still love each other. Love thinks the best about every family member. Love is slow to get angry and quick to forgive. Love is in tune to “emotionally charged” situations like: suffering a broken relationship at school, a disappointing test score, failure to make the team or being misunderstood by a friend. Love lingers long in silence, empathy and with an engaging ear. Love is the family relational lubricant that allows homes to thrive for the long haul.
“For, dear brothers, you have been given freedom: not freedom to do wrong, but freedom to love and serve each other” (Galatians 5:13, The Living Bible).
Being honest, honest with what we don’t know, is a big part of building a healthy family foundation. Often I apologized to our oldest daughter, Rebekah. “Whatever age you are, I apologize because we’ve never had one. We’re practicing on you.” More than once I had to go back and say, “I’m sorry. I was impatient. I became angry. Would you forgive me?” I just had to be honest about what I didn’t know and how I was learning. We’re all learning together as a family, so honesty is necessary. Honesty about not knowing what to do compels us to pray.
“A good man is guided by his honesty; the evil man is destroyed by his dishonesty” (Proverbs 11:3, The Living Bible).
I really like, on the Hindsight podcast, how my wife Rita recently described the need for respect in a family: “Family has always been really, really important. And respect. You need to respect us, and you need to respect your sisters. Be respectful with their stuff, their space and respect them as a person. Respect was a really, really big deal with attitudes and words, and rolling the eyes was an unacceptable kind of disrespect. We really made respect a big priority, which meant we had to model—that’s the hard part—and we had to say we’re sorry a lot. “We did that wrong” and “I was disrespectful to you or to Daddy.” Sometimes Boyd has to say, “I was disrespectful to your mom,” or I said “I was disrespectful to your Daddy,” and apologized in front of everybody. And that’s painful. After you do that a few times, you kind of try to clean up your act a lot more”. Respect is a gift we can give to each other, especially during times when respect is undeserved.
“Since we respect our fathers here on earth, though they punish us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to God’s training so that we can begin really to live” (Hebrews 12:9, TLB)?
Discipline is God’s design to express love. So parents who discipline well, love well. The wrong form of discipline is fueled by anger and is destructive, while constructive discipline is motivated by compassion and instruction. For example, when a child chooses to lie, a loving response by a parent reminds him of the consequences of not telling the truth. A lost privilege, an apology to the one deceived, confession to God and repentance, are a few potential outcomes. Discipline is necessary accountability that protects us from ourselves and others with nefarious intentions. Lazy parenting lacks boundaries, while healthy parenting is disciplined to discipline.
“Being punished isn’t enjoyable while it is happening—it hurts! But afterwards we can see the result, a quiet growth in grace and character” (Hebrews 12:11, The Living Bible)
Heavenly Father, I seek your wisdom to parent each child uniquely and love them all equally, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
What area of my parenting can I focus on improving?
Lazy parenting lacks boundaries, while healthy parenting is disciplined to discipline. #WisdomHunters #parenting
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