By Pastor Mike Sanders
Parenting is the most challenging job in America. Few experiences are more wonderful and difficult than raising children. In our custody are given the impressionable and unpredictable little persons who grow up so quickly!
YES… there are times, those difficult times when we are considering to bring up our children the way Mark Twain suggested: “When a kid turns thirteen, stick him in a barrel, nail the lid on top, and feed him through the knothole. When he turns sixteen — plug up the knothole.” However, not even that plan works. None of us have ever seen a teenager who could get enough food to survive through the knothole of a barrel!
Today it’s not my intention to add to your struggles as a parent because many of you already feel overwhelmed. It’s never been harder to be a parent. But because parenting is so crucial and God has called us to do certain things as moms and dads, I want to share some truth from Scripture about influencing children. The Bible says, “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother” (Pro 10:1 NKJV). How do we parent with peace of mind?
First, teach your children the moral reason “why.” Children need a moral compass to direct them in the future. You, as a parent, are either building that compass or deleting it. Children’s decision-making for the future depends on your ability to teach them the moral reason for all that you are instructing them to do. In the maze of moral confusion, God’s Word serves to guide us.
Second, correct your children. Someone said, “Have you ever wondered why so many parents tie up their dog but let their children run loose?” Training the heart of your child takes time and effort. It is an everyday job. It requires diligence and discipline on our part. The Bible says, “You, Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4 NKJV). We must daily engage in pouring into our children’s life the values and priorities that shape their futures.
Third, look for teachable moments. Children are first influenced by what they see—model before them what you want to see in their lives. It’s our responsibility to teach our children, grandchildren, and spiritual children God’s greatness.
Fourthly, Spend time with your children. Parents play an essential role in nurturing children. Character formation is complex. However, it is impossible if the parents fail to bond with their kids. The only way you can connect with your children is to spend time with your children. When he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984, Harmon Kellebrew said, “My father taught my brother and me to play ball in the front yard. One day my mother came out and told him we were ruining the lawn. My father told her, ‘We’re raising kids, not grass.’ ¨Someone once said, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
Finally, intercede for your children. Someone once said, “There is nothing more you can do until you have first prayed.” Seek God’s assistance. Pray for wisdom: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (Jas 1:5 NASB). Pray for strength: I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (Jn 15:5 ESV). Ask God to provide you with the focus and wisdom to change: “For with God, nothing shall be impossible” (Lk 1:37 KJV).