Parenting 101

     Don’t you wish sometimes that children came with an instruction manual? Raising godly children in this un-godly society can seem like a daunting task! We have 3 kids, ages 12, 8, and 3 at three different schools and each facing different challenges. And just when you think you have this whole parenting thing down, the next child changes all of the rules –lol.
     Psalm 127 provides somewhat of an instruction manual from The Lord on how to raise Godly children. And maybe you are like us, and need all the help you can get. Psalm 127:3 reminds us that children are to be celebrated. They are a precious gift from the Lord, and as such are a blessing rather than a burden. Because they are a gift from God, we should both

speak praise over them and spend time with them. Our children need to hear often that we are proud of them and that we love them. If we as men do not tell our children, especially our daughters, how special they are – they may seek that affection from the first boy that will provide it. And we should likewise give our children our time, because the window that we have to invest in them is closing fast! The great pioneer missionary, David Livingstone, wrote to a friend, “I hope you are playing with your children …. In looking back … I have one regret, and that is that I did not feel it my duty to play with my children as much as to teach the [natives]. I worked very hard at that, and was tired out at night. Now I have none to play with. So, my good friend, play while you may. They will soon be no longer be here.”

     Psalm 127:4 gives the illustration as children as an “arrow”. This gives us as parents a great strategy for parenting. First, children are to be shaped. In Solomon’s time, you didn’t go down to Academy sports to purchase arrows. Arrows were carefully crafted from pieces of wood. And when they became warped required further shaping to insure that they hit the desired target. Second, children must be aimed. While the world tells us that the goal for our children should be success in sports, career, finances – The Bible tells us that the goal is the heart. The target set before us as parents is go raise children that love the Lord their God with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their mind, and with all their strength. Finally, children must be released. Our goal as Christian parents is not to raise children that are independent. Our goal is to raise children that have moved from dependence upon us, to dependence upon the Lord. I love this quote by Jim Elliot, who gave his life trying to take the gospel to the unreached tribes of South America, and who was feeling pressure from his Christian parents to stay in the United States. He wrote to them, “Grieve not, then, if your sons seem to desert you. Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said that they were as an heritage from the Lord, and that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows? And what are arrows for but to shoot? So, with the strong arms of prayer, draw the bowstring back and let the arrows fly–all of them, straight at the Enemy’s hosts.”