Parenting . . . the hardest most complex job on earth. Yet parenting holds the highest value and reward of anything we might possibly do with our life.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
As a parent I am so grateful to have an instruction manual on child rearing—as I’m sure all parents are.
Unfortunately—most instruction manuals or directions don’t get read until completely necessary. If you’re young—please be encouraged to read the manual now! If you are in the middle of raising children—read the manual now! If your children are young adults—especially read the manual now! If you are a grandparent—read the manual now! It’s never too early or too late!
Being on this end of life where all but one of my kids are grown adults, I sometimes bemoan the fact that there are no “do-overs” when it comes to raising children.
If your kids are grown and your heart is heavy—caught up in regretfully recounting your mistakes—remember there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. Ask for forgiveness—forgive yourself and do God’s best from here on out. God is a faithful redeemer—He redeems our errors and covers our sin.
The first ingredient to parenting is humble, unconditional love. We must by grace and the Holy Spirit’s assistance, love our kids the way God loves us—He never gives up on us. We must always hope and believe in our children. Sometimes love takes on different forms of behavior—this means—tough love is sometimes necessary.
At times I marvel at how complex parenting really is. Parenting is a letting go adventure. These children are born to us, of our own flesh and blood—and we lovingly train them to grow up—leave us—and live their own lives.
Parenting, from the very first hour, demands complete reliance on God. I am so thankful to have an all knowing, all loving, all understanding One to lean on. Prayerfully depending on God is imperative. Since raising children is a lifelong commitment with so many ups, downs and curves—all scripture applies.
One of the things I know—from experience—is we the parents, cannot instruct or impart to our children what we do not ourselves possess. If we want our children to be healthy people of integrity and good character, then we must be as well. There is no room for double-mindedness. Most things are caught rather than taught.
Proverbs—the Book of Skillful Living has crucial advice on parenting—no matter your stage of life.
Let’s look at Proverbs 22 and, with a sincere heart, intentionally live these principles and purpose to teach them to our children and grandchildren.
Verse 1—“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.”
- Taking on the name of Christ—invaluable
- God’s favor—vital
Verse 2—“The rich and the poor have this in common; the Lord is the maker of them all.”
- Identity is found in Christ alone
Verse 4—“By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.”
- Humility and the fear of the Lord are high priorities to God
- The fear of the Lord inherit within a person helps them to love and obey God and parents
- Honoring God aids us in honoring our self and others, as well as authority
Verse 5, 3, 8, 10, 24, 25—“Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; he who guards his soul will be far from them.”
- Guarding your soul from evil is crucial to a successful life
Verse 6—“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
- We can never stop pouring God’s love and Word into our kids. I’ve seen this dynamic take place in the life of my 2nd son. When he gave up living for himself and surrendered to God—all that had been poured into his heart as a child never departed—God’s Word is timeless, alive and active, it never sleeps but always accomplishes what God sets out to do.
- Love the church and teach kids the same
Verses 11 & 14—“He who loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips, the king will be his friend.” “The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit; he who is abhorred by the Lord will fall there.”
- A love for purity and grace are never overrated
- Friendship with the King—highly valuable!
Verse15—“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” Proverbs 29:15, Proverbs 23:13-14, Proverbs 29:17, Proverbs 13:24
- The Word repeatedly warns—If we love our children we will discipline them
- Loving discipline and correction will create healthy adults
- Warning to fathers: Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. (Colossians 3:21) Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
Verses 18 & 19—“Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge; for it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them all be fixed upon your lips, so that your trust may be in the Lord”
- Preserve wisdom, knowledge and trust in your heart
- Teach kids to bind themselves to Godly wisdom
Verse 29 & 13—“Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.”
- God seriously does not approve of slothful behavior
- Diligently teach Children diligence
- A good work ethic is priceless
Skillful Living Tools:
- Children are a heritage and reward—enjoy them!
- Children are a huge responsibility—train them in the ways of the Lord
- Read and apply the instruction manual—the Bible
- Pray without ceasing
- Teach kids to prayerfully depend on God
- Teach integrity and Godly moral character
- Do not be double minded
- Teach kids to be single focused—God first
- Love never fails—unconditionally love the kids God gifted to you
- Fathers, do not provoke your children
- Love the church and teach kids the same
Please be encouraged to surrender your parenting to God and His Word—trusting Him for all the answers.
Side Note: God is redeeming the struggling, wayward child—no matter their age. My heart knows the anguish of watching your child self-destruct. My advice to you—keep your heart focused on God. Find peace and rest for your heart, in relationship with Him for He cares for you and can carry your burden, if you will just give it to Him. I am praying for you and your children.
Read and apply all of Proverbs 22 and please share with those who need to live skillfully!
Check out the Skillful Living Tool Box (updated) at the top of this page!
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 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. Deuteronomy 6:6-7