I stumbled across this website this morning just in time for summer! It is an online magazine and podcast designed to make it easy for busy parents to create adventures with their children anywhere. The mission of the website is “to help you overcome the ‘I’m bored, I don’t know what to do’ complaint you hear from your kids.”
“My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, the will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life.”
A week ago I started meditating upon Proverbs and to help me I have been using this book by John A. Kitchen and am I ever glad for its insights. Here are some things I highlighted and read and re-read this morning from it:
- “As in Proverbs 1:8, the mother’s instruction is added to that of the father. This implies that a solid home life, with both father and mother contributing harmoniously to the training of the children, is a powerful deterrent to an immoral lifestyle.” – v. 20
- “The father and mother are authorized by God to issue ‘the commandment’ and ‘teaching’ to their children. The parents have been vested with divine authority in the home to set the boundaries of behavior, thinking, and attitude for their children.” – v. 20
- “In a day of diminishing parental rights, where the state, the grandparents – even the child himself – are given ever expanding rights, this foundational and fundamental endowment from God to parents must be heard again. Parents, lead your homes!” – v. 20
- “There is never a place, nor a time, in your life in which the word of God taught by godly parents will not provide you the answers to guide you safely into His will. Untold sorrow can be avoided if parents will but teach their children the Scriptures and if children will but obey what they are taught.” – v. 22
- “The words of parents, when thoroughly permeated with the word of God, move the feet and will of a child into the will of God. They become a personal guide through life. They also, then, are set as a sentry, keeping guard over the one who is thus guided.” – v. 22
- “A loving parent’s counsel and command will sometimes step on your toes. But, there is much good to be learned and much sorrow to be avoided, if you will but embrace it.”
Teaching Children About Heaven: Answering Your Child’s Questions: As any parent knows, kids ask great questions and their questions about heaven are no exception. Are you ready to answer? Wise parents help prepare their children for the deaths of loved ones and the assurance of Heaven for those who know Jesus. In this article Randy Alcorn answers 6 questions children commonly ask about heaven. I know mine have asked a couple of these before!
Top Parenting Posts: I always love at the end of the year how the blog’s I follow highlight their most popular post’s throughout the year. In this article Paul Tripp shares the top three parenting posts for this year. If you are a parent I highly recommend reading these! As Tripp reminds us: “There are few things in life as important as the shaping of a human soul, and God has ordained the parent, in the context of the family, to be the primary instrument in the process.”
Flannel Shirts and Sound Theology: What do flannel shirts have to do with sound theology? Read and find out!
Ten truths that will get you through Christmas: Todd Friel puts us on the “truth train” to help us change our attitude, emotions and feelings about being with our in-laws and other difficult people over Christmas. I thought the 6th one to be very true and often overlooked. Are you on the “truth train?”
A fair analysis of the new NIV: Did you know that in 2011 Zondervan published a new NIV? In this article Si Cochran gives some good food for thought about it.
Common English Errors in English Usage Daily: Butt naked/buck naked: Who knew?
A Functional Car Built Out of Legos: I know…this falls more in the category of “amusement” but it is too incredible to pass up. It definitely takes Lego building to a whole new level and it is powered by air!
Ephesians 6:4 – “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Some great thoughts here from Mark Altrogge for each of us parents to consider both prayerfully and humbly on ways that we can provoke our children to anger (I know I was convicted on a number of them):
– By constantly criticizing them and not encouraging them. When they feel they can never please us enough.
– By having double standards – Do as I say, not as I do. Expecting them to do things we don’t do, e.g. ask forgiveness, humble themselves, etc.
– By anger and harshness
– By a lack of affection
– By telling them what to do or not do without giving Biblical reasons (e.g., Do it because I said to do it, or because it’s just wrong).
– By being offended at their sin because it bothers us, not because it offends God.
– By comparing them to others (Why can’t you act like your sister?)
– By hypocrisy – acting like a Christian at church but not at home
– By embarrassing them (correcting, mocking or expressing disappointment in them in front of others)
– By always lecturing them and never listening to them
– By disciplining them for childishness or weakness, not for sin
– By failing to ask their forgiveness when we sin against them
– By pride – failing to receive humble correction from our spouses or our children when we sin.
– By self-centered reactions to their sin (How could you do this to ME?)
– By ungracious reactions to their sin (What were you thinking? Why in the world would you do that?)
– By forgetting that we were (and are) sinners (I would NEVER have done that when I was your age).
Great thoughts here from the Resurgence website on how to raise godly children:
1. We are confident in our God-given parental authority.
God has set parents in place as the authority figures in the lives of children. Hebrews 12 speaks of how discipline is actually a privilege of being a son. Don’t fear that your child will resent your discipline. On the contrary, they will soon realise that it is a sign of your love for them.
2. We never count to three.
The counting-to-three routine undermines your authority and places your child in the driving seat. You are training them that, essentially, obedience is a negotiation and they can determine the timing of their obedience. Train them to think, “I must obey straight away.”
3. We model it ourselves to authority figures in our lives.
Several times a year there is a clash between what my “boss” is asking me to do and what my family and I would like to do. I always seize these opportunities to explain to my boys that I must obey my boss straight away and with a good attitude, and that although I would much rather spend Saturday morning with them, I must obey my “boss” and go to that meeting.
4. We try not to exasperate our children (Eph. 6:4).
Avoid petty rules. Pick your battles. Be merciful and compassionate. When you are in the wrong, say a sincere “sorry” to them. Also, make sure that you are giving them sufficient attention so that they are not compelled to rebel just to get some time and attention from you.
5. We use appropriate forms of punishment.
We discipline mostly for three D’s: disobedience, disrespect, and destruction (of property or your brother’s nose). Punishment must be proportional to the offense and also proportional to the child’s stage of life. If it is not then you will find that you exasperate a growing child. Also, the mode of punishment must be what will best help the child. Different parents have more “faith” in some forms of punishment than others, and different children respond differently to different forms of punishment. I acknowledge and respect that, although we have had continued success with the primary biblical form of disciplining children with a wooden spoon on their chubby bottoms.
6. We are convinced that it really is worth the effort.
The joy of parenting increases dramatically when you have obedient children, and most importantly, you are equipping your children with the vital life-skill of obedience, which will stand them in good stead in their obedience to God, life, at school, and in the workplace.
I can remember as a child my mom or dad quite often saying to me, “Look at me when I am talking to you!” Now as a father, I find myself repeating this to my daughter! Why is this so important? Because listening must start with looking. That’s when I know I have your attention. That’s when I know you care. Sadly, I’m not always the best example. Sometimes I come home from work and Alexis starts talking to me and I have my eyes glued to my computer saying something like, “Uh-huh, that’s great, Alexis.” When I do this, Alexis gets irritated because I’ve made the computer more important than she is.
But Jesus was different. He looked at people. Paul Miller, from his lesser-known book, Love Walked Among Us, says:
As I studied how Jesus loved, I was surprised by the number of times that Jesus looked at people. Altogether the Gospels mention Jesus looking at people about forty times. I was particularly struck by how often his compassion for people was preceded by his looking (see Mat. 9:6, Mark 10:21, John 19:26-27).
So how do we become more like Jesus? Ironically, Miller continues,
If we know we are loved — that someone is looking at us — then we can give love; then we can look at others.
I just finished reading a great book called, “Everyday Talk” by John A. Younts. It is about “talking freely and naturally about God with your children.” I strongly recommend it. It has blessed me greatly, stirred my heart, and strengthened my faith.
Here is the author’s purpose statement:
“God is not just a Sunday God; He is for every day. If you live in awe of Him, your children will see that. If you love Him and serve Him, you will talk about HIm every day, and your children will hear that. This book is written to help you understand and use the influence of everyday talk on your children. Shoes come and go. It doesn’t matter at all what my everyday shoes were like when I was a child. But, everyday talk – that different! The everyday talk that your child hears now will influence him for the rest of his life. My prayer is that this book will help you learn how God wants you to talk about Him every day” (Page 8).
Here is the table of contents:
1. Stupid Rain
2. Your Children and the Gospel
3. Listen To Your Children
4. Holy Directions
5. Don’t Be Ordinary
6. Big Sins, Little Sins
7. Thirteen Comes Before Twenty-One
8. Your Home is God’s Greenhouse
9. The World: The Grand Deception
10. Everyday Talk About Sex
11. Everyday Talk About Music
12. You Are On Display
13. For Everything There Is A Season
My favorite chapter was “Don’t Be Ordinary.” It starts by asking, “How do you talk to someone who is angry at you when you have only been trying to help? What do you think of someone who hurts you deeply? If given the choice, do you try to avoid these kinds of people? How do you talk to people who sin against you…what is your typical, habitual response when you are hurt by someone? Do you just “get over it” and move on? Do you get mad? Do you struggle with anger or self-pity? Do you tend to withdraw? Do you give up and think, ‘What’s the use of trying?’ Perhaps you experience a mixture of all of the above. If so, you are not alone. Most people can identify with you. However, these ordinary responses are wrong. God does not want you to be an ordinary parent” (pages 56-57).
Essentially, John Younts argues, by using Moses as an example, that ordinary parents give in to anger, resentment or self-pity at their children’s bad behavior, making themselves the center of the problem. They are loving themselves first and most. Parents must love their kids enough to show them the danger of their behavior. Children need to see that their first problem is with God, and only secondarily with you. Parents must be more concerned for their children than for themselves, and must be concerned most of all of God. By modeling patience, love, self-control – and all the fruit of the Spirit -parents teach their children how extraordinary God is.
How about you mom or dad? Is your response to sin ordinary or holy? Does your response to sin show God as extraordinary? Do you see your kids sin as a chance to practice the fruit of the Spirit and magnify God or do you see it as a chance to explode in anger, frustration, and self pity?