I still remember how I envisioned parenting before I actually became a parent. In those carefree days of my early 20’s, I imagined being a father would be as easy as it looked on those black-and-white TV shows that my parents liked so much. My children would always be respectful and kind and and helpful around the house. They would demonstrate good manners and be natural leaders at school and never forget to close the refrigerator door. And, of course, I would be their smiling friend – taking long walks with them and laughing as we sat around the table for family game night.
Yes, parenting looked easy back then, and I was good at it. Then we had children . . .
Over the years, God has blessed Tonya and I with three beautiful kids – good kids – and I am proud of each of them. That being said, (as you already suspected), I have certainly found parenting to be tremendously difficult – especially in this dark and dangerous world in which we live.
One of the most difficult realities of parenting involved DISCIPLINE – shaping our children into responsible adults. Wouldn’t you know it? It turns out that my children are flawed, just like their parents. That means that I have the duty to shape them and mold them and point them to God’s design for them . . . and that’s tough!
This morning, I want to share three resources to help frazzled parents who, like me, need wisdom on how to train responsible children.
* The first is an article on FOCUS ON THE FAMILY that explores “Reality Discipline”. This is a concept championed by Kevin Leman (who will be at Pinedale in November). Dr. Leman is both funny and practical, which makes his writing easy to swallow. I think you will enjoy this article and find tons of good advice.
* Second, Parenting with Jesus-1-1. In the article, Miller gives 4 pieces of advice to all parents. He calls us to be parents that are full of faith; to cultivate gentleness and tenderness in training children; to be consistent in discipline; and to aim to reach our childrens’ conscience. This is an excellent article and well worth your time.
* Finally, we addressed the issue of discipline in our PROVERBS STUDY this morning. There is an excellent reminder here that in the same way a loving parent disciplines his/her child, God must discipline us.
I hope you find these links helpful. As we close, here is a beautiful prayer for parents, penned by Charles Swindoll:
Thank You, Father, for being the perfect Parent. Thank You for those times that You’ve taken us to task, though the reproof sometimes seemed more than we could bear. Encourage us with the truth that whoever the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. Forgive us, our Father, for our prodigal ways, for our selfish desires and self-willed decisions. Forgive us for our pride in wanting to look like winners as fathers and mothers when the truth is we have failed at every point.
Help us to be real with our children—authentic, loving, forgiving, firm when we have to be, strong when we need to be, gentle at all times. Help us, Lord. Help us with our grandchildren, to be there for them when they need us to be supportive and affirming of their parents, to be a part of the answer rather than a part of the problem. Enable us to come to terms with things that weren’t dealt with in our own lives so that we don’t pass them on to these precious, innocent children who follow us.
Lord, we give You thanks for the genius of the family. It’s all Your idea. We pray we’ll have very sensitive hearts as we grow in these areas of nurturing and discovery.
In the dear name of Christ. Amen.