It has always been amazing to hear other people tell you how to raise your own children. Sometimes the advice comes from persons who have never had chick nor child. If you are a parent, there are things you should already know: (1) There is no cookie cutter approach to raising your children, (2) Regardless of how old the children become, parenting skills will forever be needed, (3) You can’t be your child’s parent and best friend, (4) The best professional guidance may not work for your child, (5) Figure out the best technique of discipline for your child, (8) It takes a village to raise a child, even if the village is small in number, (9) Children are prone to blame parents for their shortcomings, (10) Parents are not always right, (11) You can’t wait until the child becomes a teenager and then try to correct them, (12) Children will disappoint us, and (13) Children believe they are smarter and wiser than parents.
The greatest gifts parents can give their children are love and respect. The greatest gifts children can give their parents are love and respect. That does not mean there will not be some heartaches, challenges and heartburns during the years of a child’s maturing. Children will try their parent’s patience and wits, but parents must be wise enough to outsmart the protege.
Proverbs 29:17 says this to parents: “Discipline your child and he/she will give you delight to your heart.” One of the greatest tragedies a child can commit is disrespecting his/her parents. When the Bible says honor your mother and father, it truly means what it says. One thing I shall never forget and that is when my mother told us not to do something and we disobeyed, there was a price to pay.
A grave error many parents make is spoiling the child rotten at an early age and then attempt to reel them in when they are out of control. It has been suggested that we look at raising a child like planting a garden. Growing a garden takes time and energy. It requires weeding and pruning as the plants grow. It is less work if the garden is maintained and properly taken care of as it grows. If we let the weeds dominate and take over, it becomes difficult in changing it after the fact. Once the weeds have overtaken the garden, the energy and effort that must be used to turn things around can become overwhelming.
I am sure many of us have heard these words from our parents, “Just wait until you have your own children, then you will see the wonders of parenting. “
If you are one of those parents who looks forward to the day the child becomes 18 years of age and you think you are then done, forget it. You may be just getting started for the real action. With the economy the way it is today, it would be very difficult for a high school graduate or college graduate to move into their own place and live an independent life.
One of the Bible verses we often hear about children is found in Proverbs 22:6: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.”
It is our responsibility to bring our children up in an environment that will prayerfully have a positive outcome. If we wish to raise our children to be godly adults, we should start early steering them in that direction. The key is for us to always model Christian behavior with our children. There can be no difference on Sunday and Monday behavior. If you use profanity around your children, then do not be surprised when the schoolteacher reports that your child cursed them out. Our children learn so much from just watching us.
Parents should develop an attitude that they are the best parents for their children and should model behavior that would suggest it to be true. Yes, we will make mistakes, but use them as lessons learned.
Some of us would agree that being a good parent can be difficult and challenging but can also be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. Personally, it has been a blessing from God.
I believe one of the best scriptures of guidance for parents can be found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your heart. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.”
God was explicit in telling the Israelites to pass His law on to their children. The point is that children absorb what they see, so it is important that they be raised in an environment where God’s word is taught and lived. That is what is meant by impressing these things on your children.
My advice “Give it your best shot and put them in God’s hands!”
Not a sermon, just my thoughts!
Robert Earl Slade, Pastor