27 October 2017
“Bring [your children] up with Christian discipline and instruction…” – Ephesians 6:4b
Raising kids could be a roller-coaster ride full of ups, downs, times of laughter and even anger. Through it all how can you as a parent stay at the helm of affairs and create wonderful memories with your kids? Just as every gadget or new item usually comes with a manual for its effective use, we as humans have a manual for leading a godly and fulfilling life on earth. This manual is called the Bible and has all the answers anyone may ever need, including good parenting tips. Today, let’s take a brief journey into this manual, to identify some timeless parenting secrets. Before we go on, here’s a verse that serves as the foundation for every parent who wants to raise their kids the right way:
“Train up a child in the way he should go; Even when he is old, he will not depart from it…”(Proverbs 22:6)
Now, here we go…
Love your kids unconditionally, just as Christ has loved us
Despite our flaws as humans, God has been there for us through it all, loving us unconditionally. As parents, we need to be a constant reminder of such love to our kids. The reality is, kids, won’t always be on their best behaviour, and there are times we may rather prefer to beat the stubbornness out of our kids, but the truth is, parenting is a lifelong journey of love.
Take a moment to reflect…will your kids see Christ through you?
When was the last time you told your kids you loved them simply because you do?
Are your kids confident of your love for them even when they know they don’t deserve it?
Show your kids the way, by your lifestyle
What kind of message do your habits and lifestyle convey to your kids? As Deuteronomy 6:6-7 puts it, “These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you arise.”
Simply put, everything you do should be in line with the character traits you want to nurture in your kids, such as patience, love, integrity, humility, respect for others, self-control etc. Nothing leaves a lasting impression better than your actions as a parent.
Get your kids grounded in the Word right from the word go
A perfect example of this is found in 2 Timothy 3:15, where the writer, Paul, talks about how Timothy has been acquainted with the Word since childhood and has grown wiser as a result. Especially in an era where the lines between right and wrong are blurred, it’s very important that you make guiding your children to do the right thing a priority. Make studying the Bible fun by getting them cute Bibles with exciting and colourful pictures, breaking down the Scripture into chunks that they can easily remember and apply, read to them before they sleep etc. Not only does this fill them up with the Word, but it also gives you a golden opportunity to bond with them as they grow up.
Do not hesitate to discipline your kids when you have to
Even in our relationship with God, he corrects us in love when we err. How much more in our relationship with our kids? As Proverbs 3:12 says “For the Lord reproves him whom He loves, as a father the son in whom he delights”.
Correcting your kids when they go wrong is a sign of love.
And even if they may not understand it now, they will eventually. This by no means implies that you should abuse your kids verbally or physically, but you need to develop ways of setting your kids right when they go wrong and letting them understand the consequences of their actions.
Do not provoke your kids
More often than not, we always talk about the bit where children are admonished to honour their parents. We, however, forget to pay attention to the part that says parents must not provoke their kids either. “Do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). In as much as kids are required to give their parents the utmost respect and honour, parents also need to make it easier for their kids, by treating them with understanding and respect in return.
Don’t ‘over-nag’, or constantly criticize, if you do this your kids will feel like no matter how hard they try, they can never get anything right. Simply put, it’s a two-way affair! “Do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” (Colossians 3:21)
As a parent, there may be times when you feel you’ve failed or are not getting things right. In those times, just remember that you have the Bible to fall on. And above all God has made sufficient grace available to you. You can constantly remind yourself that you are not alone on this journey by printing out some verses to stick around your home at vantage points, and reading uplifting articles (like this one!) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6) You’ll certainly overcome, you are a great parent!
What other ‘secrets’ have you gotten from the Bible that helped you on your parenting journey, share with us!