HOW TO RAISE GREAT PARENTS
In my last post, we talked about how God’s original parent training program was that one generation teach the next how to parent God’s way. It’s our job as parents to not only learn how to parent God’s way and to do it effectively but also to teach our children how to be a parent while we are parenting them.
This sounds more daunting then it actually is. In reality, parenting while teaching to parent is the easiest and most effective way of parenting.
When we send our children to school, they go knowing that they need to go through the learning process and do well so that one day they’ll graduate. They know because we tell them. From there we encourage them by telling them that great marks lead to better post secondary education options and those options can lead to better career opportunities etc. We keep them going by helping them to understand and to take on the goals as their own.
If our children think the only goal of parenting is for them to try and have fun and for us to try and stop them, they don’t see the reward in the process and our task will be difficult. However, if we talk to them not only about the benefits to their life for doing things the right way, but also about how cooperating with the parenting process and learning how it works will help make them great parents, then they’ll be able to see a bigger purpose and a greater reward. Read more
For those of you who read my blogs or my books, you know that I’m passionate about encouraging parents to apply themselves to learning how to parent. Parenting is not merely intuitive and it’s not only bad parents who need parenting books and courses, it’s all parents.
If you asked me to determine if a certain couple were great parents or not, I wouldn’t look first at the results but at the efforts they were making to learn and grow in the art of parenting. If you know how to get the right information and effectively and humbly apply it, the results will eventually follow. If you think you’re getting by but you’re not learning, then you’ll eventually come up against a problem that you don’t know how to solve properly and that will mess up your results.
I advocate parenting books, classes and courses but actually those resources should be mere booster shots that come along and support God’s original parent training program. When God spoke to Abraham and called him to teach his children after him to follow the Lord, in context (Genesis 18:18, 19), he wasn’t talking about just Abraham’s immediate children but generations of children. When God had Moses tell the Israelites to make sure that they taught their children to follow the Lord (Deuteronomy 6), again the context was that each generation pass it on to the next.
As an example of how to pass something from generation to generation, let’s look at farming. For centuries, farmers have passed the farm down to their children. How does that happen successfully? What if one generation farmed and got the kids to help from time to time and then one day they just handed them the keys to everything and moved to Florida. Either the farm would be sold or it would probably go under. In order for the farm to be passed on successfully, the parents must not only farm well but also teach their children everything they know about farming as they grow up, gradually preparing them for the task. God’s original parent training program is simply this, parents need to do everything they can to bring their children up well AND they need to all the while be teaching their children how to parent properly themselves.
That’s why I say that parenting books and courses should be booster shots. It’s our job as parents to teach our children how to do one of the most important tasks they’ll ever undertake, raising children. Yes, we train by example but that’s not enough. We need to understand what we teach our children and why we’re teaching it to them. We need to understand the discipline, instruction and training process and explain it to our children as we go. For those of you who are feeling that this sounds daunting it’s not, it actually makes the job easier. I’ll explain how in my next blog.
For more practical and Biblical Christian Parenting ideas we recommend the Christian resource, “The Seven Mistakes Parents of Toddlers Make”
(RICK OSBORNE / Christian Author, Speaker & Dad – your source for Christian Parenting advice)
What role did God intend for the Christian home and family to play in his salvation plan, the Gospel? (Part 3)
So how exactly can God use our Christian families (Christian parents and Christian children) to impact the world and bring God’s blessing to the nations?
I believe he wants us to raise a generation of Christian kids that will do major damage to the gates of hell. Let me explain.
If Israel could become great and powerful by teaching their children to walk with God and keep the Old Covenant how much more can the Body of Christ grow and powerfully impact the nations, according to God’s promise, if we were to teach our children to walk in the power and grace of the New Covenant.
Can you imagine if instead of losing our kids to the world we kept them all in the church. I’m not talking about just having more bodies to warm the pews. I’m talking about a generation that grows up learning God’s Word, walking in relationship with God and growing in his grace. A generation that is excited about being used by God and about taking ground for the Kingdom of God. Like the generation of Israelites that took the Promised Land only each one of these would be under the New Covenant and filled with God’s Spirit.
What role did God intend for the Christian home and family to play in his salvation plan, the Gospel? (Part 2)
In part one we talked about how God wants to have salvation and his blessing come to our families. In part two I would like to talk about God’s calling on Christian families and how God wants to work through them.
Let’s go back and take a closer look at the verses about why God called Abraham.
Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” (Genesis 18:18, 19)
Let’s look at all three parts of what the Lord said here. First he outlines his promise, Abraham is to become a great and powerful nation and (also) all the nations on the earth are to be blessed through him.
What role did God intend for the Christian home and family to play in his salvation plan, the Gospel? (Part 1)
When my mother gave her life to Christ and started attending church every Sunday she had a husband, (my step dad) six children (ranging from toddler to adult) and a large extended family. She was understandably worried about how her new Faith would be viewed and if everyone would embrace it as well or reject it and her. She even started taking the youngest of my siblings to Sunday School on her own.
One evening not too long after her decision to live her life for Christ, no matter what the cost, she attended a Gospel dinner with a special Christian speaker. That speaker prayed for her and while he was praying, even though he did not know her or her situation, he said, “Don’t worry, today salvation has come to your house.”
Now that you know that God never intended us to parent without his help, that he is the third parent, that he has promised to work in you and cause you to be the parent He wants you to be, that He is working in your children as you trust Him and that He will even help you trust Him, you should be ready to move forward.
God has given you everything you need to get the job done. Nothing can prevent you from parenting God’s way; negative examples, bad experiences, lack of know-how, big mistakes you have made, the mistakes of others involved, NOTHING!
I am not saying that you should pretend that problems and pain do not exist. I am just saying that God is bigger than all of that and none of it can hold you back unless you let it.
Now all you need to do is start moving. Here are my suggestions for starting this obstacle course. First pray and let God know that you are on board for transformation. Ask him to cause you to be all that he has created you to be and more specifically to help you be a great Christian parent. Now do not stop praying that! Every time you run into a problem, fall into a bad habit, make a mistake, or just need help and wisdom for moving forward go to God. Transformation does not happen overnight—it is a lifetime thing.
What can I do when I’m struggling to believe that God is really working in me, in my family and in my home?
This is a really important question. Remember, we receive God’s grace in every area by faith. Paul said over and over again in his writings that the just must live by faith. God working in us and growing us does not just automatically happen. Our active part is to trust God’s promise and use that same faith to get up and get moving in the right direction.
Jesus often chided his disciples for their lack of faith. I believe that was because he knew that it was going to be key in the operation of the New Covenant. However struggling with our faith is something that we all do. Fortunately the Bible gives us some simple keys to help us win the struggle and grow in our faith.
Here is what always helps me when I am struggling to trust that God is truly working inside me, my family and/or my kids and making a difference. Or for that matter, when I’m struggling to trust God for any of the wonderful things we have talked about in this foundation category.
How can I disciple my children when my own faith is a little shaky and when I don’t know enough about the Faith to disciple anyone? (Part 4)
We have set some great foundations in this category. We have established what Christian Parenting is. We have established that no matter where we are at personally we can get started and parent God’s way because growing with our children is the way that works. We have seen that we can be confident in our calling to parent because God is the third parent. He loves our kids more than we can imagine and He is ready to do His part. He will not only do His part, but He has put his Spirit in us and He has promised to work inside us, change us, teach us and cause us to do our part. WOW!
As if that were not enough to get us excited, encouraged and ready to go, we have got one more essential part of the foundation to set in place.
How can I disciple my children when my own faith is a little shaky and when I don’t know enough about the Faith to disciple anyone? (Part 3)
Please bear with me. This entry will be a little longer than most however I sincerely believe that the scriptural principle that you are about to read about is probably the most essential for Christian parents to understand!
Working hard to please God
When I first became a Christian I was so excited. I wanted to know everything, do everything right and experience God in everyway that was possible. I went to every church service and prayer meeting I could get to. I read every Christian book I could find and spent as much of my day every day that I could reading my Bible and on my knees praying. Every minute of the day I was a church service waiting to happen.
How can I disciple my children when my own faith is a little shaky and when I don’t know enough about the Faith to disciple anyone? (Part 2)
In Psalm 39 David said, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (v. 13, 14)
In these verses God shows us that he is involved in the making of each one of us. God didn’t just make Adam and Eve, wind up the baby making process and walk away. He loves and knows each one of us and was there with us from the womb.
It is funny that even though we are taught that God knows everything, is always everywhere and that he loves us all (John 3:16) it comes as a surprise to us that God made us and has known us from the start.
God did of course wonderfully allow parents to be involved in the process. Our children are the product of our unions but although that is so much of who are children are, looks, personality, talents, quirks etc. that is not all they are.