07 Jul Happy Children, Happy Heart
For the last twenty-seven years, I’ve spent my life raising up a church and children at the same time. And in both cases, I’ve learned that it’s when your labor of love is matured that you truly begin to feel proud of what or who it has become.
The fact is that maturing a child is a process, and it’s one that is not always easy. God knows this, so He gives us some pretty clear guidance in His Word.
We often hear about sad cases of parental physical abuse. These are absolutely terrible and need to be addressed. But I often see a type of abuse every bit as harmful to a child’s future that is often not addressed. It’s the neglect of the heart and spiritual development of a child.
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to that have expressed grief over the fact that their parents didn’t discipline them when they had the chance. I hear things like,
“I wish I would’ve learned this before I ended up behind bars,” “I wish I’d known this before I ended up in this bad relationship,” and “I wish my potential would’ve been developed before I had wasted all of these years.”
Kids have needs that must be met just as husbands and wives do. As parents, we must provide a developmental process for them that’s both pleasant and empowering. We’re given a good method to follow in Ephesians 6.
It starts by telling us that in order to raise kids successfully, our approach is imperative. We must teach them to obey and honor in a way that encourages and empowers them, not exasperates them.
Once we get our approach down, the Bible makes it clear that there are four major things a child needs from their parent. The first is clarity.
Clarity makes both the choice and the consequence clear. For example, when we tell our child to do their homework, we would say, “I’m asking you to do your homework. I hope you’ll choose to see how important this is to your future and obey. If you don’t, you’ll feed bad habits that can sabotage the dreams you have your life. I believe you can be what you want to be, but you have to too, by investing into it.”
This method really works. When your child sees what the truth you teach can mean to their lives, they’ll be much more likely to get on board. The second thing we must bring to our relationship with our kids is a challenge. This helps them to do the right thing so that they choose the good consequence over the bad one.
Third, they need correction, for those times that they do make the wrong choice. And lastly, they need confirmation that we believe in them. They need assurance that everything is going to turn out okay, as long as they follow God’s way.
I believe that we as parents have the greatest job in the world. Let’s choose today to raise our kids God’s way!