How quickly our world is changing! We receive a constant influx of data…daily. So much so that it is impossible to keep abreast of all that is taking place around the globe. One would believe that with so much information at our fingertips parenting would be a breeze. Not so! Who among us could possibly wade through all the data one receives with only a click of a mouse? And even if one could what’s vogue today will be obsolete tomorrow.
The family is in crisis, children’s lives are being shattered, and the end result is suffering on all fronts. What are parents to do? How are parents to discern fact from fiction–truth? There is only one place where truth can be found and that is God’s Word. The Bible holds the answers to navigating the waters of this world and the keys to parenting. God’s Word is the only guide that won’t steer us off course, therefore if we want to stay on the straight and narrow path the Bible must be our compass.
What do children need from their parents? It’s a simple question that at times can seem overwhelming; however when we focus on what a child needs verses what a child wants the answer becomes much clearer. It is my belief that what children need is relatively simple and can be narrowed down to the following: a Godly foundation, unconditional love, unconditional acceptance, time, and discipline.
It is God’s plan that parents teach their children about Him–give them a Godly foundation by modeling the Christian life for them.
Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God a Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children. (Deuteronomy 4:10).
God has a unique plan for each of our children especially designed by the Father to fulfill His great purposes. He has equipped each child with talents, gifts, and abilities to accomplish God’s good works. As a parent it is our job to teach and instruct our children the ways of God so that they may live out the plans of God.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7).
Children, just like any other human being, desire to be loved–unconditionally, without strings. Actions speak louder than words–children need to be shown love as well as being told. Sing praises rather than criticism. Encourage not dictate–empathy shows a measure of love and compassion.
“Love is patient and kind; does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
In a world that is ready to find fault, our children need to know that they have our acceptance. When this world throws them a curve ball they will be able to endure because they have the security and acceptance of Mom and Dad. Trials are a given but a safe place to land makes them bearable.
“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:14).
Our children spell love T-I-M-E! It’s just that simple. Children want to be in the presence of their parents–they want our full undivided attention. We must learn to listen, be sensitive to their feelings, and choose to give them our time. Children are influenced by who they spend time with, therefore if we want to be the ones to shape, mold, and influence our children we need to give them our time.
“…making the best use of our time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16).
Children need consistent discipline. They must learn to respect limits–set lovingly, firmly, and with understanding. From an early age they need to learn to take accountability for their actions…all actions have consequences, either for good or for bad. People will not accept obnoxious, disrespectful behavior from our children and the sooner they learn obedience the easier life will be for them. God demands our obedience and if our children do not learn to obey us, how will they learn to obey God?
“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the LORD.” (Colossians 3:20).
Parenting is not an easy task for any of us; however with God beside us we are able to navigate the stormiest of seas. When you are at a loss for how to proceed ask the Lord.
“If any of you lack wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5).
I hope this verse brings you as much comfort as it does me.