As parents we have many responsibilities pertaining to raising our children. We literally have to teach our children everything- from eating- to walking/talking- to how to interact in the world as they grow. Our children rely on us to teach them life’s most basic needs and provide them with the tools and knowledge needed to survive and have a fulfilling, happy life.
When you ask parents what they feel is their responsibility to teach their children- you get answers like: Feed them- Protect them- Prepare them for life. These things are all necessary but we also need to further break it down and think about what we are teaching our children.
Is it positive? Is it helpful? Will the things they are learning from us, help them or hurt them, in their futures?
How do we know what we should and should not teach our children?
This world has been grossly misinformed on how our children should be raised. They are confused by ‘lovely-sounding’ misconceptions that ultimately lead to destruction at some point in their lives.
One example is the rose theory. It alleges that children are like rose buds- if no one bothers them or interferes with them- they will naturally unfold into gorgeous roses.
Sounds nice! The problem is- children are not born with the same needs as a plant. Children need strong, loving parents- not a friend or an observer- to watch them ‘naturally unfold’.
I have heard many times in my life that having a child does not come with a how-to or instruction book on raising them. However, as I grew and had my own child- I realized this is not entirely true.
Although, when I gave birth and was ready to leave the hospital with my new little bundle of joy- no one handed me a book and said read this and you will have perfect children. The thought of thinking you can raise a perfect child without any outside interference is a bit laughable for me at this point in life. There is no way to control or predict and prevent negative life experience’s for our children- it is guaranteed going to happen- we live in a sinful, fallen world.
But we do need to be teaching our children how to be prepared and how to respond, when unexpected things happen.
The Bible is God’s handbook on life. It has a lot to say about how to raise our children and how we should and should not live our lives- furthermore it also explains why we should raise our children in a specific manner- as it leads to joy, fulfillment, love, peace, and eternal life- just to name a few.
Train up a child in the way he should go,Proverbs 22:6 NKJV
And when he is old he will not depart from it
Let us take a look at seven functions of great parenting according to God’s Word.
Besides the obvious nurturing in healthy foods- As parents we should be feeding them spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and socially. We teach them how to handle emotions like anger and sadness correctly. We teach them how to play and share- how to recover from grief or loss- how to laugh and how to pray. We should be teaching them how to think, listen, and learn and how to communicate effectively. Above all we should be teaching our children about God.
All infants need protection from a loving parent to survive. Good parents seek to find a balance between protection and overprotection- especially in a world that is becoming increasingly violent.
But we also need to provide protection over their mind and soul in an eternal sense. We should be leading by example and teaching our children about God. Protecting their minds against agnosticism (the belief that there is not enough proof to say that God does or does not exist), prejudice, hatred, and injustice.
We must counter cultural trends that encourage superficiality (lack of thoroughness, depth of character, or serious thought) and materialism (a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values) to be the basis of their thinking. We need to equip our children with the truth and train them in the way they are to live, according to God’s will, in order to protect them from these ways of thinking.
They may temporarily rebel but they are likely to return to those good teachings they learned early in life.
Good parents are creative with how they teach their children- correct them- play with them- spend their money- prepare them for the future- and even on teaching their children about God.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NKJV- “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Many parents seek out the best preschool for their toddlers in hopes the child will receive the best education and prep for elementary school. However, children need far more than just the text book basic academics. Children need to learn the foundation of trust.
Trust comes from a consistent response to your child’s needs. Weather the response is tender love or tough love-likely a mixture of both, but either way the child knows you are there, you care, and will take charge for their well being.
Preschoolers who learn how to respect boundaries and obey rules are more likely to be safer and more responsible teens. Proverbs 29:15,17 makes it clear that children respond to the rod of correction.
One example I have seen is picturing the rod of correction as a shepherds hook- designed to prod wayward sheep away from danger. And at times, the hook is needed to rescue a sheep who has fell into real danger.
Children can learn to know right from wrong- we simply must teach them. We need to teach them the qualities that later become the fruits of the Holy Spirit- love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
By teaching our children these values we are preparing them for a future in eternity.
You set the tone of your child’s inner voice. We should be teaching our children that their life is no accident- that God has a plan and purpose for them- their only job is to seek it- find it- and follow it.
Motivation to make one’s life count for God is taught at a young age. Parents who bless their children with this truth and help them to discover God’s best for them live a happier, more fulfilling life.
Unfortunately, some parents choose a different route of motivation in their parenting- they declare things over their children that are negative predictions- usually done in bits of anger. These statements are detrimental to a child’s mental health and become the very curse that causes some children to fail. They believe the lies and curses their parents have said over them to be true and it robs them of the healthy motivation it takes to accomplish what they are called to do in life.
Paul wrote in Colossians 3:20-21
Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
When parents bless their children- it is easier for children to be obedient. We as parents can not ignore, neglect, or abuse our children physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally and think that they would or even should be obedient to us.
God calls children to be obedient to their parents and show respect but He also tells parents NOT to provoke (stimulate or incite (someone) to do or feel something, especially by arousing anger in them.) their children.
Bless your children with the love of Christ and they will grow to do the same.
The goal of Godly parenting and training our children up in the way they should go is to raise happy, healthy, and God-fearing adults whose lives will make a positive impact in the world.
Teaching our children responsibility through giving them chores or tasks to complete- showing them how to complete them well- and than expressing approval and appreciation will prepare them to become independent, motivated adults.
Letting our children go out on their own into the world is a scary process. However, this process can be easier when parents have the reassurance that they are transferring them from the shelter of their parental wings to the perfect care of God.
- A place to return
Teaching our children the foundational truths in God’s word will prepare them for times of struggle in life. Having a solid foundation is important for our children to successfully navigate through life’s storms.
Sometimes children stray away from God, but they almost always find their way back. This is because they have the solid foundation in which their childhood formative years were built upon.
This will also help bring comfort as we grow older and eventually pass away. Our children will know they are never alone- that they are a child of God and can fully rely on Him for every need.
Thank you Lord for being a Father of love- for being patient with each of us- and for giving us Your Word so we may study it and learn more about who You are and who we are in You. Lord, I thank you for giving us this message and showing us through scripture how we should be parenting our children. I pray parents all across the nation will open their hearts to You and seek Your guidance. Lord, the world is so lost and many are chasing what they desire without giving any thought to their eternal destiny and they are falling into the traps of Satan and choosing the ways of the world. Lord, many do not even know who You really are and have never tried to know You. Many were never taught about Your love, mercy, and power and Lord I pray they would have an undeniable encounter with You. That they would feel Your love and presence and be moved to seek You more. I pray parents everywhere, including myself, would remember to teach our children about You and to live by example. I pray for Your protection over each of us and our nation as a whole. In Jesus mighty name I pray.