August 21, 2015

Three Ways to Love Your Child

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 21, 2015

The one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. Proverbs 13:24

I am an imperfect parent. Over the years I have tried my best (with the help of God, my wife, family, church, school and friends) to parent imperfect children. Aside from marriage—parenting may be the adult responsibility that requires the most amount of faith and work. Parenting styles vary based on upbringing, culture, family dynamics and personalities. However, there are a few parenting principles that are timeless in their application and positive outcome. Hope these help:

Children feel loved when they know there are limits to their behavior. A passive parent communicates disinterest, while an engaged parent says, “Because I love you so much, I will install guardrails around your heart, mind, activities and actions.” Yes, it is necessary for parents to define clear behavioral guidelines. How a child acts matters. What a child says and how they say it matters. Instill values such as respect, honesty and obedience. Adherence results in reward. Violation of family values results in discipline. Boundaries provide peace and delight.

“Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire” (Proverbs 29:17).

It is not enough for a parent to just tell their child what to do. We need to show them how and explain to them why. For example, we can illustrate to our child how words are like salt. Salt creates flavor, preserves from decay and melts ice. So when the tone of our words is comforting we give life to the recipient. The decay of a diseased heart infected by lies needs us to speak truth that heals and preserves. As we offer encouragement, we melt away fear and soften hard hearts. Training takes more time, but results in lasting life change. We train and entrust them to God.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

What a parent does is what a child tends to do. So when we are kind—they are motivated to be kind. When we are patient—they are challenged to be patient. When we are honest—they see the fruit of honesty. As we serve—they observe how to serve. As we pray—they are inspired to pray. Modeling love for God and people shows what it looks like to live like Jesus. Words exemplified by positive action invites the favor of angels, but nice speech not backed up by good behavior enhances the devil’s devices. Modeling may be the most effective teaching method of a parent.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13).

Prayer: Heavenly Father give me the wisdom and patience to parent like You parent me.

Application: What does my child need from me in this season of their life? 

Related Readings: 1 Corinthians 11:1; Hebrews 10:24; Philippians 4:8; 1 Peter 2:12

Post/Tweet this today: Training takes more time, but results in lasting life change. #lovechildren #wisdomhunters

Additional Resource: 4 minute music video- Gaither Vocal Band: Peace in the Valley

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