“…ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)
It has been said by many that taking marriage advice from a Catholic priest is ridiculous because they are not married and do not or cannot understand the intricacies of marriage. While this makes sense in a natural way, it does not make sense in a spiritual way. Whether a priest is married or not, his advice comes from the Word of God, and not marriage. However, they may have a different kind of experience that a married man may not, as he has gained experience through the lives of those he has counceled.
This negative view cannot be held against a man who is a parent of a child or children, though the same thing can be said as above concerning a man without being a parent himself.
The present writer is a very proud father of (3) three terrific daughters. These girls have been on the A honour role from their kindergarten days and (2) two of them will be entering High school (DV,) and their older sister will be entering college (DV). They all are multiple winners of a “Christian Character” award as well as many other awards. They are all on the volleyball team as well as two of them on the basketball team. Two of them play on both the JV and the varsity teams. If It sounds like I’m bragging, I am. Let me add one caveat to the above…to God be the glory!!!
We said the above to simply demonstrate that we know of what we speak. Having said all of the above, allow us to get to the point of this post.
One of the things that we see on a very regular basis that frustrates us, if not downright angers us, is a parent that treats their child, or better said, God’s child, in a way that displeases God as in provoking their child(ren) to wrath. We are dumbfounded to see what we see in so-called Christ-ian homes by so-called Christ-ian parents. It matters not to us how “successful”a man is if he does not treat his offspring in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. God forgive me, but there have been times we have wanted to handle the parents ourselves and treat them with the same disrespect they treat their kids. With that last statement we shall move on (DV).
For the rest of this post we will seek to lay down some very, very simple ideas on raising a and relating to your kids.
- Remember you are a sinner and have been longer than your kids. When your kids manifest their sinner-hood and you must deal with it, stop and ask yourself this, “How can I come down hard on my kid when I am a bigger sinner than he/she is?” Confess your sinner-hood to your child and tell them you understand sin’s draw. Go on to explain to them that God requires discipline, however, and then discipline them as God directs. Then hug you child, cry with them, ask them to pray for you as you will pray for them.
- Remember what it was like to be a kid and relate to them in that way. Goof around with them, go out and have fun with them, as well as with their friends. Do not act the fool or sin to fit in, but hold a high standard that can be respected.
- This one is of the utmost importance, especially if your kids are younger. Never, ever leave a room or the house without telling each other, “I love you”, even if there is anger present. This point and its importance cannot be stressed enough.
- Treat them in a way you want them to treat you…this one should be basic.
- Always be honest with them. This may mean a Santa-less Xmas and an Easter-bunny less Easter as well as no Tooth Fairy. This will cause the ire of family members but that is acceptable. If you start this practice from the beginning of your child’s life they will not miss it.
- Keep your word to them and they will keep theirs to you. If you tell them that they can stay out until a certain time, allow them to do so without unnecessarily stalking them via cell phone. Ask them to check in at an agreed upon time and wait.
- Be careful not to speak ill of other parents but use grace to show the difference between their family dynamic and yours.
- Use grace to correct your children if formal discipline is not required.
- Formal discipline is not always required.
- Let them see love and affection between you and your spouse.
- Be affectionate with the kids. Hug them and kiss them as often as they will allow it.
- Be aware and accept that at some point your child will pull away from you for a period of time… especially if they are of the 11-16 year old female variety. Give them their space, feel the pain and heart ache quietly, but continue to tell them how proud you are of them and how very much you love them.
- Do not force your mistakes upon your kids. If you have made your life difficult by disobeying God’s righteous standards, do not naturally assume your kids will do the same and then punish them for what you did to yourself!!! Your life and the choices you have made and continue to make are warnings enough without you strangling them.
Much of the above is Bible 101, my experience and unfortunately some of it is gleaned from parental failures we have observed other parents make. We have seen the affects it has and has had ( at this point I write with tears running down my face) and will have on these great kids. We have desired so many times to sit down with the parents of these kids and tell them how much pain they cause their own or rather God’s own. We want to tell them how much damages they are causing. We want to tell them that God will stand for it only so long. We want want to tell them how terrific their kids are and how terrible they are. Then we want to, lovingly, take them outside and knock some sense into their foolish heads…God forgive me.
We would like to name names but that probably would not be helpful besides if these parents read this they will know of whom we write. To the kids of whom I write, “You guys are kids to be proud of and to be held up as examples of honourable your Christ-ian men and women. I for one am very proud of you all and am so glad to know you and feel free to share this with your parents.
To the parents that do well by their children, God bless you and thank you. You are raising the next Christ-ian generation. You may look forward to Christ’s “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.
To the parents that mistreat their/God’s offspring, In Scripture…that’s the Bible..It is the Book that is usually leather bound. You know which one I refer to; it’s the one you drag out from under the dirty magazines around Xmas and Easter if you pull it out at all.
Now that we are on the same page, In Scripture we/ you are told that Children are an heritage of the LORD. That means that the children you are raising or not raising is/are a gift(s) from God Himself. I council thee, do not mishandle the gifts of God. The manner in which you raise your children will either be a witness for you or against you on your day of judgement. There is not anything more important in your life than your walk with God and your family…nothing…not work, not church, not health, nothing.
If some take this post the wrong way they will have proven themselves to be Proverb’s fool however, if they take it as a loving rebuke and sound instruction they will prove themselves to be Proverb’s wise man.
Oh God, my God, please add Thine favour and Thine blessings to these words. Amen.