We are going to wrap up our curriculum by revisiting our parenting. We discussed weeks ago (Week 7) the command for our children to obey their parents in Ephesians 6:
‘Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”’ Ephesians 6:1–3
‘Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.’ Colossians 3:20–21
I want to remind us that we can help or hinder our children, as mentioned in these commands. They’re young, they don’t know better, and need us to guide them in the right direction. We want them to receive a blessing from God, as this command is backed by a promise.
Our parenting should encourage and motivate our children to obey us, not aggravate them. The leadership is provided by both father and mother. We want to help them obey us. We may think “wouldn’t that be amazing, if they would just obey, I’d do anything to make that happen.” In a past session we discussed a few different ways we can encourage our kids, which I’ll quickly recap here:
1. We as parents have to be absolute in what we’re asking and stand firm in it. Do not waiver, and give in to the whining of the child. Children learn how to manipulate and get what they want when we give in.
2. We should punish our children, let them feel the wrath of mom and dad! Just kidding. But we should punish them. Children need to understand there are repercussions for going against mom and dad.
3. Be aware of each child’s temperament, their personalities, and attitudes, and treat each one uniquely. What works for one child rarely works the same way for another.
4. Be mindful of your tone, attitude, and the words you use in instructing your children to do something. If you’re already really mad, set the expectation with yourself that whatever they do will set you off. If you’re already exhausted and done with the day, expect whatever they do will probably push you over.
In addition to those, we should also be encouraging our children’s relationships with Christ. We don’t want to force religion on them, we can’t force them into salvation, but we can illustrate the love of God through our love for them. We can pray with them, read the Bible with them, take them to church, have Godly conversations with them, and the like. This is the truest form of love for our children.
‘Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.’ Psalms 127:3–5
We have the opportunity to disciple our children in their relationship with Christ. Our ministry should start in the home, but often times it doesn’t. Serving God is very important, and the church relies on volunteers, many who are parents. Our priority as parents is our children. They were gifted to us by God, as parents our responsibility is to our children. Our ministry in the church shouldn’t compromise our children’s relationships with Christ. We have countless hours with them to nurture their salvation. This must be taken seriously.
‘The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.’ Proverbs 20:7
As we have discussed many times before, our own relationship with Christ directly impacts our relationship with others, especially our children. We need to be seeking Christ daily not only for our own salvation but also for our family’s. Our children will receive a blessing because of our integrity as Proverbs says. This seems like a no brainer.
‘Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.’ Proverbs 22:6
We as parents should be seeking to guide our children into adulthood. As our children reach teenage years, the earlier years of correction lessen, and we begin to coach and guide our children. Our goal is to help them become functional members of society, with an understanding of their responsibilities. We must encourage them to be ready to leave the nest and engage life without constant direction from their parents.
‘Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”’ Matthew 19:6
Husband and wife are one, and we should parent as one. Which parent is less respected by your children in your home? You may find it varies by your children’s age. Having four children from 4 years to 15, we see the full spread. Chances are, in your house too, mom gets most of the love and attention early on, then slowly it moves to dad, then both parents are equally loved, then neither (yay teenagers).
Regardless of the phase you’re in now, both parents have to be equally involved. Most dads leave for work and moms stay home with the younger ones. Dads need to remain involved. It’s on you to support your wife in parenting. She can’t do it alone. She is not everything to your children, she’s not a single mom. You need to step it up and help out, from playing to cleaning to disciplining. Growing up, my mom used “wait until your dad gets home” whenever we were in trouble. Moms, dad can’t be the only disciplinarian in the house. You have to drop the hammer too.
Finally, never, EVER, sneak around your spouse with your children, don’t lie to your spouse to cover for a child, don’t say “let’s not tell mom”. This will only grow resentment and disrespect. Instead, toe the line equally, support each other’s decisions even if you disagree with it in the moment. Chances are they have a reason. Apologize to your spouse, in front of your children, let them see you acting civilly. They learn what they see us do, from fighting to loving.
Week 13 Discussion Questions
1. How do you encourage your children’s salvation?
2. Which one of you feels like you’re the least appreciated in the family? Why is that?
3. Share a time where you may have snuck around your spouse for your child or told them not to tell.
4. Share a win! What is the most recent time you just had a great experience with your child(ren)?
A couple of topics to pray for:
· Strength to seek Christ in our parenting
· Patience patience patience with our gifts from God
1. Pray with your spouse! Much of our homework has been meant to encourage you and your spouse to pray together, but be painfully purposeful this week. If you don’t pray regularly, do it this week. Use this homework as an excuse. You have plenty to pray for: your spouse, your children, your church, your friends, your work.
2. Pray with your children. The younger they are the easier it tends to be. Ask them what to pray for. If they are having a bully at school, or know of mean kids, pray for them, show them what loving as Christ looks like.