I’m not a parenting expert. God knows that my husband Todd and I have made more than a few mistakes over the past eighteen years, but we’ve also experienced some parenting success with the patient help of Christian friends and family. Through the good and the bad, God has proven Himself faithful over and over again, using both our parenting successes and failures to teach us how to lean on, listen to, and trust Him.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing with you the short list of governing principles by which Todd and I have raised our two imperfect, but pretty wonderful kiddos. Here’s hoping you make it to this side of your journey having made significantly fewer mistakes than we have!
- Focus on the eternal. It’s so easy to get caught up in the minutia of life, the “she’s looking at me” and “if you say one more word” moments, when your children are young. For your sake and theirs, train yourself to take a deep breath, step back, and see the big picture at regular intervals.
More than you want your kids to develop good hygiene, more than you want them to succeed at a sport or hobby, more than you want them to make you look good, as a Christian parent, you really want your children to
- Develop a Biblical world view so they can discern and speak the Truth,
- Understand who God is and who they are not so they might be saved, experience intimacy with the Father, and live out their calling,
- And see people as Jesus sees them, treating others the way they want to be treated, so that they can become effective ambassadors for Christ that win lost souls for the Kingdom.
This being true, it’s important that you spend more time, thought, and energy teaching and modeling Scripture than you do helping your children hone temporal habits and skills.
It is also important to keep an eternal perspective when disciplining your children. Although they should be held accountable for their actions and be given an opportunity to learn that poor choices carry negative consequences, heavy punishment (including spanking) should be reserved for equally heavy offenses, ones with possible spiritual and potentially eternal consequences for your children and/or others. Physical and/or emotional violence and rebellion against authority in any form fit into this category.
Next week, check back to find out what happened to all of the things (and people) that have caused our children to disobey…