I know first-hand how challenging parenting can be in raising a family, as my wife and I, raised two boys, both of which were a hand full. To borrow the old Army slogan “It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love!” I know that I love being a parent but it’s a tough job and definitely the most demanding and rewarding job of all times. It starts from the minute you learn you’re going to be a mother/father and will last for the rest of your life taking you on a ride like nothing you have ever experienced before. There will be many wonderful and frustrating times as well as emergencies and surprises along the way. In today’s hectic world raising a family is definitely a challenge. Parents must learn to be financial managers, chefs, housekeepers; maintenance experts, educators and diplomats — and balance all those roles while being loving parents for their children.
Add to that the additional challenges of maintaining relationships, careers and it’s a wonder why any parent can keep their sanity. While today’s parents face even more challenges than their parents; they also have a vast selection of support services and information available that their parents never dreamed could exist. However, the best source of information concerning parenting is found in God’s Eternal Word. As dedicated parents, we spend much of our time supporting, encouraging, instructing, protecting, and challenging our children. Moreover, sometimes all that steering and urging seems ineffective when the child starts to veer off course. That’s when being a parent is “really hard work”. If you find yourself there, some biblical parent-child principles can help you, such as:
(1) Parents must teach God’s truth (Deuteronomy 4:9; 32:46). Your home needs to be a place where you serve one another through God’s love – Galatians 5:13. Children do not learn to love and obey God only by what we say. They also learn by watching what we do. We are to teach them constantly about God and His Word as we “sit in our house, when we walk by the way, when we lie down, and when we rise up. Along with that we must set an example by our love and obedience to the Lord.
(2) If they do something that is wrong, let them know it’s their behavior you dislike, not them.
(3) Parents should not frustrate their children (Ephesians 6:4).
(4) Parents wise decisions bring blessing to their children (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).
(5) Parents who are godly teach their children to obey (Ephesians 6:1; 1 Timothy 3:4).
(6) Parents must lovingly discipline children because they are immature and need guidance. Proverbs 29:15, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame”
(7) Parents who faithfully train their children can be confident that their efforts are not in vain. Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it”
(8) Above all, pray for them. They may seem confident on the outside but feel weak on the inside. Matthew 19:13, “Little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray.” Wrap them in prayer, as Jesus did (Matthew 19:13-15), is a powerful alternative. He cares more about our children then we do, so we can release them into His hands by praying for them. He doesn’t promise us that nothing bad will happen to them. But as we pray, He will give us the peace we long for (Philippians 4:6-7). This challenge is for all parents, even those whose children have grown up: Don’t ever stop wrapping your children in prayer!
(9) Lastly, one portion of Scripture that provides great instruction in this area is found in Proverbs 2. Although addressing the son, this passage can also serve, as a guide to what parents should teach their children. According to this passage, children must be taught to treasure God’s commands (Proverbs 2:1), to call out for understanding (v. 3), to grasp what it means to fear the Lord (v. 5), and to practice God’s wisdom in their lives (v. 6).
As parents, we must keep in mind our children are smart and learn by listening and watching; thus are we setting the right kind of example for them to emulate. They will compare our actions with our words to see if we practice what we say. If not, your children will be confused not knowing what to follow, your actions or your words. Are you living for Christ in such a way that you want your children to imitate you? The Bible is by far your richest and best resource to help you raise children who will know and love Jesus Christ. Nothing is more essential than “the Holy Scriptures” to equip them for all of life’s challenges. Remember that children may not inherit your talents, but will most certainly absorb your values! An unknown author put it this way:
A careful man I ought to be; a little fellow follows me.
I do not dare to go astray, for fear he’ll go the selfsame way.
Not once can I escape his eyes; whatever he sees me do, he tries.
Like me he says he’s going to be – that little chap who follows me.
So I must remember as I go, through summer sun and winter snow;
I’m molding for the years to be – that little chap who follows me.
We shape tomorrow’s world by what we teach our children today.