What is the Secret to Parenting?
Psalm 127:3-5 reminds us that children should be treated with the utmost value. Like an archer on a battlefield considers the arrows in his quiver, so we should consider our children. They are a blessing and indispensable in our lives. Since they are so important, the Bible has a lot to say about parenting. The beauty of it all is that there is no hidden secret to parenting. The Bible is very clear about how to successfully parent your children. Let me give you three biblical principles and ten practical applications that may help out along the way.
- Disciple your children with the Word of God. When God gave the foundational declaration to His people about their faith in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, He immediately followed it with the command to teach it to their children. In 2 Timothy 3:14-17, Paul emphasizes that the Timothy had been taught the Word since His infancy. Discipling our children should be the top priority of your parenting.
- Delight in your children. Both Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21 teach us to not frustrate or agitate our kids. The way to do so is to take great delight in their presence. It reminds us to lean back into Psalm 127 and see their great value in our lives. We must not just love our kids as a theoretical idea but actually like them.
- Discipline your children according to what is right and wrong. The Book of Proverbs offers plenty of wisdom about parenting. In Proverbs 13:24 and 23:13-14, the writer reminds us that discipline is necessary and guards our kids against the pain of greater punishment. But we must discipline them according to the objective truth of the Bible, not our whim. Discipline for your kids is not about getting your way as their parent but Christ having His way as their Lord.
- Your ultimate goal is to raise a fully-committed disciple of Jesus. Don’t just raise a nice kid. Raise a Christ-follower.
- “If parents treat the church as optional, then their children will treat Jesus as unnecessary.” (Not sure who said this first but it is astoundingly accurate.)
- Love and like your kids more than you like your hobbies, job, or any other pursuit of the world.
- Be in charge of your kids. You can do it.
- Discipline with consistency. Have reasonable reactions to their misbehaving.
- Give reasonable expectations. Explain things ahead of time to avoid scolding in the midst of trouble.
- Hold yourself to a higher standard of maturity than you do your kids. The most mature person in the relationship should be you.
- Pray for, with, over, and around your kids. It should be a normal thing for them to hear you praying.
- Talk about the Bible and our faith like it is a normal thing.
- Raise kids to be missionary in their view of the world. Then they will embrace God’s mission before embracing the world’s desires or their own pleasures.