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Parenting by the Book

I recently shared a photo [depicted below] on social media that depicted a big tower with 3000 orange ping pong balls which was representative of the 3000 hours a year that parents have to teach their kids about Jesus. Also depicted in that same photo was a small vase containing 40 orange ping pong balls which was representative of about 40 hours a year that the church has with a child to teach them about Jesus and that is a low number on average being that kids are not always brought to Bible classes on Sunday mornings and/or Wednesday evenings. The point is to emphasize the importance of teaching our children about the Lord (cf. Eph. 6:4), noting that we spend the majority of time with them as they grow and develop into adults. As I know life gets busy, especially with school and activities having started back in full force, I thought it was needful for the great reminder that we are keeping the main thing, the main thing and the main thing is the Lord. Prioritizing Bible classes, worship is of extreme importance as well as prioritizing Bible study day to day with the family.

This brought to mind an article that I had written a couple of years ago based off of a sermon that Kensi and I had heard by Brother Don Truex on “Mom, Dad, & the Kids: Parenting by the Book,” and thought it was a good time for us all to be reminded of. The first point of the lesson was that, as parents, it is of upmost necessity that we commit to the process. The Psalmist brings this very idea to us: “like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them” (Psalm 127:4,5a). We as parents have a HUGE responsibility just as those in the days of Moses did. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to you children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deut. 6:4-9). This is not a once a week thing, this is an EVERYDAY LIFE THING! I certainly don’t want to be known as the father of Adonijah who is recorded in 1 Kings 1:6 as having “not rebuked him at any time by saying, ‘Why have you done so?’”

Secondly, Brother Truex brought up the fact that it is necessary that we as parents provide direction for our children. As noted in Deuteronomy 6, it must first begin with my relationship with God, loving Him with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my strength. My children will be able to see that demonstrated in my everyday life. Brother Truex pointed out that children need to see passion for excellence, hard work to achieve, being self-disciplined, honestly and integrity, and respect for the spiritual dimension. Is that something that my children, your children, your grand-children see in your life today? Much of what is seen and discussed is primarily focused on the worldly things. Much of the daily table discussion in Christian family’s centers around grades and athletics rather than God and His Holy Divine will. I mentioned earlier that I don’t want to be known as the father of Adonijah. I would rather be known as Joshua who was well known in his firm and bold statement: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:17). My children should not have to wonder where my loyalties are. The fact of the matter is, I will be held accountable for how I raise my children. In Brother Truex’s words, “don’t be a willing party to your child’s spiritual death (cf. Proverbs 19:18).

Let me end by mentioning one other thing that was impressed upon me in this lesson. The question of what do I want my children to be remembered for? There’s no doubt that I desire for my children to be successful in their academics and even be athletically inclined in some way. Brother Truex shared the fact that the focal point of most families is all about their children’s G.P.A. or being the M.V.P. rather than what matters the most: G-O-D. “Focus more on G-O-D than G.P.A. or M.V.P.” Yes, I want my children to have a good GPA, and even be an MVP, but NOT at the cost of losing sight of GOD. I would rather my children be known as the MOST committed disciple of Christ, servant of the Lord and to others, compassionate, for them to be the Most Valuable Participant in the church of our Lord. I want my children to have a nice house, but I would much rather for them to have a mansion in eternity (cf. John 14:1-6). I want them to know how to balance a checkbook, but I would much rather them know how to live a well-balanced life (cf. Proverbs 4). If my children don’t see and hear the passion to excel spiritually, working hard to achieve spiritual growth, being self-disciplined, and life of honesty & integrity, with the upmost reverence for God, then they will most likely be more worldly minded than spiritually minded. As another post I saw on social media, “there is a 0.0296% chance your child will become a professional athlete. There is a 100% chance your child will stand before Jesus.” We must choose wisely as to what we prioritize in our lives, for we have a serious responsibility before us. If I don’t fulfill this serious responsibility that God has given me, then I have missed what being a parent is all about and, again, I will be held accountable. 

Are we as parents committed to the process, providing the direction? I hope so.  If not, let’s resolve now to do just that. Let’s do as the Proverb writer said: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6

Something to think about. Have a great week! – DJ 🙂

About Author

DJ Dickerson

Evangelist | La Porte Church of Christ

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