Godly Parenting

“The family – the most basic institution ordained of God – was originally intended to be the teaching ground of life’s principles.” (The Midnight Cry, Issue 6). And when that institution begins to crumble so too does the society that once rested upon it. Someone once wrote, “It is a greater work to educate your children, than to rule a nation”, but it is an even greater task to raise them spiritually.

Almost anyone or any living creature can reproduce. But equating reproduction with parenting is a serious mistake. Today, it is not uncommon for parents to spend only a couple of hours or even minutes of quality time with their child in a twenty-four hour period. Though in some circumstances this is a necessity due to financial limitations, in the overwhelming majority it is sadly a matter of choice. Striving to maintain a certain standard of living dictated by society, many sacrifice their family life in order to attain more. With less quality time spent with our children, coupled with the increasingly harmful influences present in society, it is no wonder the dysfunctional family has almost become just another thing we simply live with and accept as normal.

The natural nurturing of a mother contributes to the healthy growth of a baby, and when neglected there are consequences that will undoubtedly arise afterward. However, when the spiritual aspect of life is considered, who will raise them in the fear and admonition of our Lord if there are no Bibles in the schools and no Christian principles?

The conveniences of daycare organizations and babysitters must not replace the child’s need for its own parents and what they have to teach. While some of us must use these services, our focus should not be lost in this fast paced world and its desires. We must seriously consider what our duty is to God concerning the children he has entrusted in our care (Psalm 127:3), and measure our current efforts according to this great responsibility.

If we understand that God has literally entrusted our children to us, we will begin to realize how important a role we have, and make adjustments accordingly, even if it means further sacrifice. On the other hand, if we believe it is more important to work over-time and own two cars, than to spend valuable time with our children, we are in a state of darkness.

How we shape our children in the home ultimately shapes society. (Pro. 22:6) We all have different styles of parenting, different priorities and different expectations, however, there are principles that we can implement or abide by in our homes that are in line with God’s will.

On a daily basis Christian parents will experience the pressure or burden pertaining to the godly upbringing of their children, but this is a positive feeling that enables us to remain focused on our God-given obligation. They are ours for a little while, but ultimately they belong to God. It is a known fact that parenting is not easy, especially when the current state of society is examined. There is so much in this world that is designed to destroy and take our children’s focus away from God. Too many of us are already affected by the spirit of this age and our homes have been penetrated in one way or another.

Reflect on the following for a moment: Do you think that the shows being produced by Hollywood are beneficial to your child’s spiritual growth? Do the toys they play with or the books they read stimulate pure thoughts or are they encouraging rage, unhealthy competition, killing, an acceptance of horrific creatures, perverseness, and sexuality? Well, in this age that we live in the Adversary’s tactics are subtle, and therefore, things that seem innocent might not necessarily be so. In the end they are desensitized, and all that was once gruesome and evil is now good and acceptable. The darkness has become the coveted entertainment, and the bitter the sought after stress relief. (Isaiah 5:20).

Parenting is a full-time job, and if the Devil’s target is to hit the homes then we must be watchful of the things we allow into our homes and what we teach our children. It would be tragic to invest in deadbolts and a security alarm to protect our family from harm, yet open wide the doors to evil over the airwaves and web. Discernment between good and evil, even the things that seem harmless on the surface, is imperative. Parents must be far-sighted enough to anticipate potential problems and challenges in their children’s lives.

As parents, we play the most critical role in our children’s upbringing, both naturally and spiritually. To a great extent the parents reflect what God is like to their children. Therefore, how we live, what we do or say, and what we invite into our lives is paramount to what our children perceive God to be. What am I reflecting to my child? Is it light or darkness? How should I respond, speak, and behave? All these are very important to our children’s upbringing, for ultimately, parents are the examples that children will follow.

Even the way we discipline is important. Limits need to be set and stood by, unaltered by our emotional state. Boundaries are of great importance to a child; knowing how far they are permitted to go gives them a sense of security. Despite the fact that they constantly test these restrictions we must reaffirm them each time. If they are allowed to breach them parental control is lost, and in turn, they will be in command of us.

Without prayer and the word of God parental wisdom is limited to what our previous experiences and the world have taught us.

“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou riseth up.” (Deut. 6:6-7).