In light of the tragedy in Florida, there has been a lot of discussion over the past week about keeping our children safe. It’s a good discussion to have and I am sure we have all kinds of opinions on the matter. To be honest when we send our children to school they are very vulnerable and there are a lot of things that are out of our control. The more we think about what could happen or what we can’t control the more we worry. I want to switch gears today and share some things that as parents we can do for our children. This won’t necessarily protect them from a tragedy. However, it has the potential of helping to protect their soul, preparing them for whatever they might face and helping them to be a person of influence for Jesus Christ. It would be pretty awesome to see these three things accomplished in our children.
There are three biblical principles for raising children that I learned from Every Man A Warrior by Lonnie Berger. These principles focus on the father’s responsibility but they are good reminder for both dads and moms.
1) It is a father’s God-given responsibility to raise his children.
Fathers do not exasperate your children; Instead, bring them up in the teaching and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
Fathers, we might be taking our role in raising our children too lightly. We can’t go through the motions in raising our children and hope for the best. We need to take this responsibility seriously. Raising our children should be a reflection of our own relationship with Christ. Train and instruct them both in the ways of the Lord and in ways that are pleasing to the Lord. We need to begin by listening and trying to understand our children, teach through modeling, and look for teaching moments.
2) A child gets his self-image by what he or she believes Dad thinks of them.
Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. (Proverbs 17:6)
This is a tricky one. A child gets his or her self-image by what he or she believes Dad thinks of them. It might not be what Dad actually thinks of them, but what they believe. We must do all we can to convince them of how much they are loved and valued. One of the greatest ways to show them this is by simply spending time with them. When they see us choosing them over our hobbies, interests, cell phones and even jobs at times they begin to feel valued.
3) Words spoken to a child determine their destiny.
The tongue has the power of life and death… (Proverbs 18:21)
We all know there is power in words. We need to focus on the great opportunity we have been given to speak life into our children. They take to heart both the encouraging and damaging words spoken by their parents. They will encounter plenty of negative messages from the world around them. They need to hear a consistent message from us that they are loved, valued and that they have purpose. It is so easy to get caught up in what we can’t do to the point where it seems hopeless, but God doesn’t want us to go there. He wants us to focus on our mission of raising godly children who are secure in who they are in Christ. This is something awesome we can do for our children!