My grandfather used to say, “You don’t wait until a tree is full grown until you prune it.” When kids are bad, we blame the world, coaches, teachers, “failing schools” … or even the kids themselves. But, rarely do we blame bad parenting. Far too often parenting is negligent, permissive, or authoritarian, but biblical parenting is the way that our heavenly Father parents us–authoritatively, a process that, out of love, outlines the consequences for our choices but allows us to make our own choices.
I. Genesis 2:20-24. God created parenting. In the verses, we often use to show how marriage is between a man and a woman, the concepts of “father” and “mother” are mentioned. How strange they must have sounded to Adam and Eve who had neither! But, here God institutes not only marriage but the concept of family and parental roles.
II. Ephesians 6:1-4. Children are to obey their parents in the Lord, but fathers are to instruct their children in the Lord. Parents must actively train their children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). The Israelites were told to do this (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) but forgot while they conquered the Promised Land with disasterous consequences (Judges 2:10-13).
III. 1 Timothy 3:4-5. Even an elder must have parented in the style of our heavenly Father over us, so that he can shepherd Christ’s church in that same parenting style. A kid that doesn’t accept correction brings grief to his mother (Proverbs 29:15) and breaks his mother’s heart (Proverbs 15:20). Rather, when a child does not turn from the way he was trained (Proverbs 23:25), he brings joy!
This is a difficult topic as no matter our kids’ ages, we realize we all have made mistakes in parenting that we regret. Where it is not too late, we can change. Where it is, we can apologize. But, there are still kids in our lives (in the church especially) over which God has given us influence. How’s your example? How are you training the children in your life?