As a parent you hold a great responsibility. You are bringing up a child with the hopes that they will be right with the Lord, be upstanding citizens, and hopefully make a lasting impact on the world. But what does it take to actually make that happen? Honestly, I can’t even begin to imagine the stress that must be.
Whenever I present parenting advice it is merely from an armchair philosophers point of view since my wife and I have no children of our own, but I present it from what I understand Biblically, and will put in to place if we ever do have children. So today, I share with you the three things all children need from their parents.
Your Children Need Your Discipline
For some reason discipline has become a “bad” word per se. I’m not talking about punishment, which is in a whole other category by itself, but discipline. Discipline is the intentional correction of a wrong behavior that leads to the growth of the individual. That’s not Webster’s version of a definition, but mine.
When you discipline your child you are pointing them in a new direction with the intention of calling greatness out of them. I am a firm believer that it is your job as a parent to call greatness out of your child, not just let them slide by in life.
Discipline is far greater than just spanking, scolding, or grounding. Discipline is the root for discipleship. Your children need you to disciple them in time management, behavior, but most of all understanding and living by an indwelling Lord.
As a parent you are called to discipline your child through correction, and if need be by spanking, but also through pointing them to a greater relationship with the Father.
We read in Proverbs 3:12 which is a reiterated in Hebrews 12:6,
“For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.”
If you truly love your children you must discipline them not only in the physical world, but the spiritual as well.
Your Children Need Your Grace
On the flip side of discipline, your children need your grace. Grace has also been manipulated over the years with the “hyper-grace” movements that take for granted God’s goodness to us. True grace calls us into deeper discipleship with the Lord.
Use moments when your child should be disciplined as a moment to teach grace. Paul provides us with the perfect example of grace in his letter to the Romans,
“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? – Romans 2:4″
It is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance, not fear, punishment, or belittling. When you have the opportunity to show grace to your child do so intentionally. Don’t allow them just to merely “get away” with doing something. Use the opportunity for grace by explaining it to them and then point them to the Father and His grace for us in times of missing the mark.
Grace is not lackadaisical; rather it is intentional in its pursuit to draw us to a deeper revelation of the Lord. Therefore be intentional about your use of grace, but use it nonetheless.
Your Children Need Your Example
Finally, what I believe your children need more than your discipline or grace is your example. Children learn by example. That’s why you show them how to eat with a spoon by putting the spoon in your own mouth. You show them how to say a word by exaggerating the mouth movements. You lay out the example for them from the beginning.
Greater than each of these is the example you set with your life and your walk with the Lord. Children watch and notice more than is often credited to them. From the early stages of development through the teenage years, your children are watching and evaluating the differences or similarities between what you preach and what you live.
Your life is a walking billboard for them. The actions you display on a day-to-day basis speak louder than any message you could ever preach to them. Be intentional about setting an example of a life led by the indwelling life of Christ.
I thank God for his grace and redemption. I had none of these things. The discipline was just punishment. The grace was rarely there, and when it was it was not intentional. Finally, the example was also not there. My grandmother was the example I remember, and her prayers are what I believe helped redeem my life to the Lord. I came to the Lord as a young man, and although I had many struggles and foibles I learned from the example set by the men and women that I surrounded myself with.
Parents, train your child up in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). The greatest way you train them is by allowing Christ to live through you in the intentionality of your discipline, your grace, and most of all through your example. These are the three things all children need from their parents.