A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all. A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple man keeps going and suffer for it. Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life. In the path of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his soul stays far from them. Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Danny protested vehemently when his mother told him to take his younger sister with him when he was going fishing, but mother insisted so Danny obeyed. They returned only a few minutes later, and Danny’s mother said, “That certainly didn’t take very long. I hope your sister didn’t make too much noise.” Danny replied, “Oh, it wasn’t the noise. There just wasn’t much use staying after she ate all the bait!”
King David writes (Psalm 127:3) “…children a reward from him.” There is always great excitement about having a baby and yet no matter how much preparation we have had, we are ill prepared. A person was having difficulty with their children and came asking for help. They said, “I am an introverted codependent dysfunctional mother, what should I do?” The first thing is to quit reading all those books. A lot of parenting is by the seat of the pants! It is common sense. Jesus said, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” Parenting is a learning process, that we learn as we parent.
The Sheriff’s Office in a Texas city once distributed a list of rules entitled “How to Raise a Juvenile Delinquent in Your Own Family.” Begin with infancy to give the child everything he wants. This will ensure his believing that the world owes him a living. Pick up everything he leaves lying around. This will teach him he can always throw off responsibility on others. Take his part against neighbors, teachers, policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child. He is a “free spirit” and never wrong. Finally, prepare yourself for a life of grief.
The greatest need for children today, is that they need their parents. We want to be their best friend. They don’t need another best friend. They need a mom and a dad. Parents feel that they have to have the approval of their child. Parents tolerate things their children do so that they get their child’s approval. Discipline is a serious problem because we don’t like having our child upset with us. My kids have many times said, “It’s a power thing.” Or, “everyone is doing it.” I don’t try to be their best friend or win their approval. My role, and what is in their best interest, is to be their Dad.
There are three Biblical teachings about parenthood. As one would suppose, love is the key factor. It is important for that love to be verbalized; they need to hear it. But even more importantly, that love must be present in time, discipline and training.
Time: Time is the single most important gift that you can give to your child. Remember how important it was to spend time with your spouse in order to marry them? You wouldn’t dream of marring someone you didn’t know. Neither should you parent a child that you don’t know. You have to know something about that child’s uniqueness, what makes she or he, who they are. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son….” God entered our world! You have to get into that child’s world. It is a busy world with lots of activities. Some families have a Family Night. We have our evening meal together.
Discipline: (Hebrews 12:5-6) “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” There is a difference between discipline and punishment. You can punish anyone that is smaller than you. You can only discipline those that you “know.” In rearing Brooks and Jonathan, Vickie and I used a wide range of options of which spanking was one. We would talk to them, have time outs, take away privileges, reward, etc. But there are some things that children decide is worth the punishment. The last recourse of spanking. Prov 13:24 “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” Children must learn boundaries. The art of holding on and letting go. Discipline has less to do with fairness than it does with trust. The issue is not fairness but trust! You cannot be fair to a child. Ever watch a child share a cookie? They divide even the crumbs. Sure you listen to them and hear their side of the story. But you must discipline based on what is in the best interest of the child.
Training: Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Brooks had a flat tire as a teen, and I went to where she was located. But I made her change the tire. Why? She needed to learn. As parents, part of our job is to help this child find his/her identity. I am not talking about preparing for a job. I am talking about morals, character and personality. My children can grow up to be brilliant scientist but if I haven’t instilled a strong sense of value and a love for Christ, I have failed. I want them to grow up being a human being not a human doing. Training comes in role playing. They learn by watching you. They have to see our limits and our short comings. They learn when they find we make mistakes and admit our mistakes. Training is only effective when it is accompanied with time and discipline.
You never know when you’re making a memory. When little Jimmy returned home from summer camp, his parents asked him if he had been homesick. He replied, “Not me, but some of the kids were who had dogs.” It is all about relationships Mom and Dad!