Much information has been written on the subject of children. Although much information is available, we need the Bible for direction and doctrine. Children are precious souls needing to be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).
The world’s smallest school is the home. Proverbs 1:8-9 states, “My son hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother. For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.” Children mimic and memorize their parent’s attitudes and actions. Moses stated in Deuteronomy 6:3-9 to the children of Israel that they were to teach their children diligently the commandments of God. Paul speaks of Timothy being trained in the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:15). A child will be raised in knowing Christ or Baal, righteousness or unrighteousness, light or darkness.
A child is governed by rule before he is governed by principle. Paul said in 1 Cor. 13:11, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Our parents gave us rules to follow we did not understand. For example: We had to be in the house before dark. As children, we may not have understood the principle involved, but we understood the rule. Jesus was even governed by rule before He was governed by principle (Luke 2:50). All of our lives have been influenced by what we have been taught and how we have been trained (Pro. 22:6). God’s wisdom says to give a child what he needs, and when the child is older, he will know what is needed (Gen. 18:19; Pro. 6:20-23).
How should I raise my children? The peerless answer is for us to live the Bible and teach it to our children. What can and should a child learn from parents?
- Put God, Christ, and the Church as the main priorities of life (Ex. 20; Matt. 22:37-40; 6:33; 7:5; 1 John 5:3-5; 1 Pet. 1:22; 2:17).
- A child can learn to incorporate daily Bible reading into their lives (2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Tim. 4:13-14; 1Cor. 3:1-4).
- A child can learn to be careful of the company he/she keeps (1 Cor. 15:33; Amos 3:3). “No” is rooted in a person’s life at a young age, not when they are in their teens.
- To be pure in mind, heart and life is worth more than material possessions (Matt. 16:24-26).
- Becoming a faithful, fervent Christian is the most important attitude and action in life (1 John. 2:14). We are examples to everybody, including children.
Parents, college is not the most important thing in your child’s life! Becoming a Christian, and should they choose to marry, marrying a Christian. These are the most important! Yet, Christian parents often put more emphasis on schooling, extra-curricular activities, and college than they will the soul of their child. We shall be found wanting in God’s favor following this path.
I have often been asked what Wendy (my lovely wife) and I do in rearing our children. First, I am not perfect, and my children know that; not because of the things they see and hear, but because of communicating my weaknesses, faults, and sins against them to them. It is my prayer their tender hearts see more vividly my love for God and them than they do my weaknesses towards God and them.
There are three words every parent must always remember and live in raising their children: love, consistency, and discipline. If any one of these three are not met in our thoughts, words, and deeds, it causes an imbalance in our lives and destroys the effort and work we have invested in our children. Notice, none of these three words indicate perfection (without sin).
Love – Love God the most, your spouse the second most, and your children the third. Always maintain this order. Why? If you love your children more than God, then you will defend and enable them in their wrong doings.
Consistency – Our light must not flicker, and work must never end (Matt. 5:14-16; 1 Cor. 15:58). Anxiety in children elevates whenever their normal schedule is interrupted. We know this is going to happen. Consistent parents help their children to overcome in these situations which prepares them for the bumps in this life.
Discipline – Just about every parent is an expert disciplinarian. How do I know this? Try discussing your ideas or correct their child in a way that opposes their ideas and watch what happens. Parents need to incorporate instructive and corrective discipline. The Bible calls for spanking, PERIOD! (Pro. 22:15; 23:13-14). Here is what has worked for Wendy and me while incorporating love and consistency towards our four sons. As soon as they were old enough to rebel or defy our commands, often with a scream or cry or temper tantrum (depending on which son), they received ONE verbal warning. If they persisted, they received a spanking, not beating. Our definition of this is spank hard enough for them to remember what consequence is for such behavior, but never hard enough so as to cause injury. Parents, their defiance begins at a much earlier age than you might think. When the boys became old enough to understand verbal communication, we always began with the corrective, discipline process by explaining to them what they did was wrong before God and us so they knew why they were receiving spanking. Trust me, this is the hardest part, but it allows for uncontrolled anger to not be an option leading us to doing something we would always regret and sin. There are some actions that forgo verbal warning such as lying and being disrespectful.
Children are the fruit of the home, and one can really know what the home is like by watching how the children act and behave (Matt. 7:18; Ps. 127:4; Eph. 3:17). Children are to obey and honor their parents (Eph. 6:1-3). Little ones are very special people, and they should be taken care of with the utmost care. I dearly love my sons and would fight to the death for them. May we raise our children to love the Lord, and in doing this great task; let us use the Bible as our only substance, stability, and source (2 Pet. 1:3).