The process of parenting children can take parents down so many different roads. Choosing a road that will lead to success seems like such a crap shoot these days. Most of us go in with a positive mindset, hope for the best, and do everything we possibly can so they will have a better life than we did. Is there really a "best" method when it comes to child education that parents should know about?
Unfortunately, children do not come with a set of instructions when we bring them home from the hospital. As new parents we usually rely on what we saw our parents do with us throughout the years. Some of us choose to deviate from our parents style by going to the other extreme and taking a vow that we will never raise our kids that way. In any case we see a number of different options when it comes to parenting children.
If I were to build my own house rather then buy one already constructed by a local home builder I would be choosing a more challenging method to acquire a home for my family. Not that it couldn't be done but it would take a lot more effort to do it and there's a better then average chance that it would take longer, not be up to code, and lack the quality of workmanship that would assure longevity.
And yet that's what we do when raising or building up our children. Why don't we choose a blue print that improves our chances for success in the long run? The first challenge is in choosing a blueprint that is reliable. In this case we would probably look for one that has a long track record of turning out great homes and satisfied customers.
Throughout this website I make numerous references to the bible when examining various aspects of life in America. I use the bible as my standard. I realize that many of my readers my not agree with this method but I have chosen to do so out of personal experience living by the word of God.
My wife and I have raised six children. Prior to the birth of our first child we both had already committed to parenting children according to the standards set out in the bible. Why did we choose this route when so many other more modern methods were available? We based this decision on a personal experience we each had with a promise God made.
16"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17"For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.…
Prior to that day when we first met my wife and I were going through a very difficult period in our lives individually and with the help of friends were learning about Jesus and his saving grace. When I encountered this scripture from the Gospel of John I began to wonder if this God was real and did he truly love me. I desperately needed to know. So I took the plunge and began talking to God as if he were real.
It was during one of those conversations that I decided to believe that he actually did come into this world 2000 years ago to set things right for me by paying the price for my sins. Before then, I didn't think I needed to be saved, I thought I was okay. When I asked Jesus to save me almost immediately I began to see changes in my thinking, actions and words. I soon realized that I had indeed been saved from a life without God and translated into His kingdom.
It was this truth, that God's word is real, not some archaic writing, that convinced us to go about parenting children according to the entire word of God. If what he said in the Gospel of John was true why should I doubt any thing else he promised in His word? We now had a solid foundation.
What I believe would help many who are faced with the prospect of parenting children is gaining an understanding that children are much more then just flesh and blood. They are a blessing regardless of the circumstances in which they arrive.
1 Samuel 1:24-28
"And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. And the child was young. Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there".
The woman in this passage had been barren for many years. In that time period in the middle east it was extremely embarrassing for a woman to go without children. This woman endured this shame for many years. She apparently reached the end of her rope and cried out to God for deliverance and God heard her plea.
I believe that the reason she had gone barren for so long was because God was teaching her something valuable she needed to learn about parenting children. Once she learned the lesson, which is that they all belong to God and are on loan to us, God opened her womb. As her way of thanking the Lord she first acknowledged God for what he did then she took him to the temple to dedicate him to God.
The dedication is simply an acknowledgment that God is the source of all good things in life and as parents we will raise them up in the knowledge of the Lord.
"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate".
My wife and I have learned that we should always give God the credit for the blessings in our lives. We even thank him for the difficult times we encounter (not that He sends them) because we now know that it is during these times that we have the opportunity to draw even closer to him and experience his grace, power and love.
As we make key decisions, especially during challenging times, we do so only after praying because we know that these decisions will impact our efforts in parenting children. Only God knows the future. Wisdom would be to seek God and ask for guidance so that we may not end up bringing unnecessary heartache to our family.
Whenever there is an opportunity to have all our children gathered together at one time we try to pause and take a moment to enjoy the miracle that God has performed in our lives through each of them. I still am trying to understand why God would entrust me with parenting children six times over. He must see more in me than I can see in myself.
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"And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up".
Growing up in Chicago I remembered observing that all my Jewish friends seemed to live life according to a different standard. They seemed to view life through a different lens than what I was accustomed to. It seemed that throughout their lives things just seemed to go their way, even during difficult times.
They lived the kind of life that I envied. They demonstrated a confidence about life and their future that others I knew did not. They were very loyal to "traditions" as I called it back then and they were very adamant about passing on those traditions to their children. My Jewish friends were very proud of their heritage and traditions.
It wasn't until after my born again experience did I began to learn about the Jewish people and their faith. This passage from Deuteronomy is referencing the instructions that Moses passed on to the nation of Israel. They are being instructed to pass on to their children all that God has instructed them.
Even though this is an Old Testament passage it is still relevant for Christians today. Most Jewish families have been very faithful in following this instruction and have reaped the benefits for many years. That is what I desired for my family. Since I could see it manifested in the lives of the Jewish couples I knew who were parenting children and I had already experienced God personally there was no need for me to doubt that God would lead my wife and I in the task of parenting children so we could experience the same blessings.
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it".
In the early stages of parenting children my wife and I seemed like naturals. Even though we had a house full of small children we never felt overwhelmed and our house was always filled with laughter and good times. That's not to say we never encountered challenges as parents but looking back we realize that by placing God and His word at the center of our lives we didn't struggle needlessly and experienced on numerous occasions supernatural favor.
No matter what the subject was that we were teaching our children my wife and I, particularly my wife, made sure to show them what God's word had to say on the subject. She was very good about this. To them, God was very real, and they knew we depended on Him for everything. Time and again they saw their mom and dad praying and believing and trusting God for provision.
This is the training that the bible refers to in this passage. We train our children not just by reading the bible to them but also by demonstrating to them how to trust God. Children learn more by watching us then by listening to us. They are great imitators.
Looking back on all the challenges we encountered during the last 28 years I dare say that in most of those instances I probably would have chosen a different route to solve the predicament we were in. I am still trying to walk by faith now that my children are grown. As with all couples given the opportunity of parenting children you reach a point where you have to "let go and let God". We know that we have deposited a lot into their lives and now its time to watch what God does with each of them.
They too will encounter their own challenges and must develop their own relationship with God as they put their faith to the test. During these times they will even doubt the word of God even though they saw their parents live by faith. They must learn that faith is not believing that God can, but that God will.
My prayer for this nation is that more of you will embrace the word of God and take a step of faith towards him. That the subject of parenting children is not discussed within the confines of our own logic but rather in terms of what our creator already intended.
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