Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." This verse directs us to be our children's first teacher. Don't wait for someone else to teach them. Also, validate what they are learning from other sources.
I find it interesting that Proverbs says "when he is old he will not depart from it." This could be interpreted that the possibility is being left open that the child "could" depart from it before they are old. If you establish a foundation of Bible-based truth, even if your child turns away from it early in life, you have to trust in God that the foundation you established will always be with them—whether they choose to follow it or not—and let God do the rest.
As parents, it is even more important to lead by example. Using "do what I say not what I do" diminishes your authority and leaves children thinking that the rules don't apply as they get older. In Titus 2:7 (NIV) Paul instructs "in everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity." Will we be perfect? Absolutely not. As we give our kids grace, they will give us grace as well if we are humble and ask for forgiveness as needed.
Good parents will discipline their children (Prov. 13:24). This should be a shared responsibility with both parents. Godly discipline will share the "whys" with children and how obeying authority in the home is practice for them eventually obeying authority in the workplace and God who is our ultimate authority. This verse of discipline along with Ephesians 6:4 (MEV) saying "do not provoke your children" shows how important it is to understand your children. What motivates and frustrates them will be unique to each child, and the discerning parent will know how to balance discipline and encouragement.
The story of the prodigal son in Luke 15 models to us that parents never give up on their children. God never gives up on us. No matter where they are at in life, your child should know they can, at any moment, come running back to your open arms.
Finally, a discerning parent will pray for their children. King David prayed for his son Solomon (1 Chron. 29:19). Children who know their parents pray for them daily have a deep sense of love and security.
Larry Hager, founder of The Good Dad Project, is my guest on this episode of Everyday Discernment. He shares some incredible wisdom of how to have unlimited patience with your children.
Patience is both a practice and a skill that should deepen over time. Patience starts in the morning and is easier when you avoid negative triggers like social media.
Tim Ferrara has grown up in the church and has held various leadership positions both in business and in the church. Tim is the executive pastor at LifePoint Church in Arizona. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing from Arizona State University along with a MBA from University of Phoenix. He has had a career in business management for over 20 years and has worked as faculty for two different colleges.
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