28 Feb Being the greatest influence in your kids’ lives
God’s Plan for Parents
Being the greatest influence in your kids’ lives
by Sam and David Laing
Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
Our children are inundated with voices every day; their school teachers, their friends, television, movies, video games, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat—a seemingly ever expanding digital universe clamoring for their attention. Never before have parents had more competition to be the primary influencers in their kids’ lives. But with God and his Word helping us, we can—and we must—succeed here! How are our kids to learn about God and how he wants them to live their lives? The clear teaching of the Bible is that God wants to use us as parents to be their key teachers. Yes, they will learn from Sunday School, church services, and youth ministry workers, but the passage above shows us that they are to listen to their fathers and mothers. (And please note that although it only mentions “son,” the passage would apply to daughters as well!)
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
So, when should we teach them, and how? As we go through life with them. Parents, let us seek to lovingly, wisely and consistently teach and train our children about God and his glorious truth from their very earliest days, and throughout their growing years. We should teach them on a daily basis, as needs and opportunities arise. We can teach them in simple daily conversations—as we walk, as we drive, as we share meals, on the way to sports practices, at bed time—and also in deeper sit-down times of studying the Bible together or family devotionals. Do it all! And, do so not simply to correct or rebuke them, but to build a positive, solid foundation in their minds and hearts.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
God wants our children to obey and honor us as their parents, and to learn from us. And please note that the final verse in the passage above obviously applies not only to fathers, but to mothers as well. God’s plan is that we, their parents who are with them on a daily basis are their most vital and important teachers. Let us embrace our God-given role as being the earliest and greatest influence in our kids’ lives!
As a father, one of the biggest challenges I’m facing is the constant need that I feel to correct and admonish my children. There are so many things that happen on a daily basis with my three kids (ages 8, 10, and 12) that call for discipline. But the old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies here. I’m learning that I must be intentional to teach my kids biblical principles and godly character even when I’m not in the middle of dealing with a disciplinary issue. My kids need to be taught about God and his word when things are calm, as “we walk along the road”. Otherwise, they will always associate God’s word with negative, corrective measures rather than a source of loving guidance. This is what my dad and mom did with me and my siblings. Was there discipline? Yes, and plenty of it! But there was even more positive instruction on an ongoing basis.