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GODLY PARENTING
An Investment in Happiness

by Pasty Adams


     In the prophecies of Isaiah concerning the last days, Isaiah
foretold the deteriorating condition of the families of our moder
day society. In Isaiah 3:12, there is a frightening prediction:
"As for my people, children are their oppressors,..." One has
only to read the daily news and look around him, perhaps even in
his own home, to see that this curse is surely upon us today.
Children are the product of the home and environment from which
they were engendered. If the children are our oppressors, it is
we as parents who are their mentors. How are parents to avoid the
pitfalls of parenting that turn our children into our tormentors?
Are we to follow the teachings of this world's so-called experts
in child psychology, the Dr.Spocks...(BEFORE HE DIED HE RENOUNCED
THE MAIN PART OF HIS TEACHING and said he was responsible for a
generation of rebellious kids - Keith Hunt) of this society?
Listen to the warning from Isaiah:

"0 my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and   .
destroy the way of thy paths:" (Isaiah 3:12) 

     God's word is not silent concerning childrearing. Proverbs
22:6 instructs us to "train up a child in the way he should
go.....

     Before people become parents, they need to consider the
awesome responsibility parenting involves. Once a little baby is
brought into the world, that child is a parent's responsibility
in one way or another as long as the parents live. The first
eighteen years or so, parents are totally responsible for the
care and support of a son or daughter. But, even after that,
parents have a responsibility to act as counselors and advisors
to their children. Be willing to give your son or daughter the
benefit of your years of experience. Help them avoid the pitfalls
you or others you've known have stumbled into.

     When your children become young adults, don't expect them to
automatically know the right thing to do in every situation. Take
the time to guide them. They will learn in one of two ways,
either by your example and teaching or by experimenting on their
own.
     Parenting should not be entered into with the attitude that
it is a never ending tiresome chore. The rewards of Godly
parenting are tremendous, if your attitude and methods are in
line with God's standards. The time you invest in your children
will bring years of returns in love and fullfillment as you watch
your little ones grow up happy and well-adjusted. Watching them
face the world and achieve their goals gives parents a sense of
pride and accomplishment that makes all the effort well worth it.
     Happiness in adult life begins with a happy childhood. It is
in childhood that strengths or weaknesses are formed that will be
with a person for the rest of their lives. Do you want stable,
successful and happy sons and daughters? Then give them a happy
childhood. Before you can do this, you need to learn to be a
happy person yourself. Maybe you had an unhappy childhood
yourself. Perhaps you were reared by parents who themselves had
an unhappy childhood. You can break the cycle by studying and
applying the principles of God's word and avoiding the mistakes
that have been repeated over generations. If you are an unhappy 
person by nature, find out why. Seek counseling. Educate yourself
in regard to the forces which shaped and molded your personality.
You cannot change what has happened to you in your past, but you
can take charge of your future through positive action. As you do
this, you can also decide what kind of people you want your
children to be and set a course that will result in them becoming
happy, well-adjusted people.

     The most important thing to begin with is LOVE. There is a
natural affection between parent and child, but to love your
child with Godly love is a little more involved and is a learned
process. Love should be both supportive and corrective. Heb.12:6
says that God chastens every son He loves, and we need to love
our children through Godly correction. A child needs to have
freedom to grow, but at the same time he needs to be given limits
or boundaries for his protection. When you put boundaries of
restraints around a child, the child will naturally test those
restraints by pushing against them. If they hold firm, the child
feels safe and secure. If they give way, the child feels
threatened and insecure. Often they will continue to push further
and further trying to find that safe secure boundary.

     Proverbs 23:13 says to withhold not correction from a child.
A key thing to remember about correction is that it should be
aimed at rebellion. 1 Sam.15:23 says, "Rebellion is as the sin of
witchcraft." Parents must by all means root out this destructive
force in their children. At the same time, learn to recognize the
difference between deliberate rebellion and an infraction a child
commits by accident. Every child is going to make mistakes, but
remember this, the best times to build a bond of trust and
security between parent and child is when the child makes a
mistake. The bigger the mistake the greater the opportunity to
build that bond. If a small child accidentally breaks something
that you value very much, don't react in such a way that the
child feels he or she can never be forgiven. This may be a good
opportunity to teach your child to be careful and considerate
with the belongings of others, but don't yell and scream at the
child just to vent your anger at having lost a treasured
possession of your own. If you do, the little child will
immediately get the message that the object that has been broken
is more important to you than he is. The child knows he or she
cannot replace or repair the broken object. If you react with
patience and forgiveness, your child will learn that no matter
how badly they may fail in life, Mom and Dad will always love
them. Times like this are the best opportunity, to teach a child
that even though they make mistakes in life they are still
worthwhile people. Let them know that you have confidence in them
that they can and will do better. This will instill a
self-confidence in a child's little mind and build strength in
the child as he or she grows up that they will draw upon the rest
of their lives. 
     As children become teenagers, there will be more
opportunities to put these principles into practice. When your
teenager takes your car out for the fast time and comes home with
a dent or scratch on it, the same principle holds true.
     Teenagers are going through tough enough times just dealing
with the changes they are experiencing in their lives, their
bodies and their environment. Remember what it was like when you
were a teenager and ask yourself how you would want to be treated
in such a situation. I remember my first little "fender bender".
at the age of sixteen. My father's first question was, "Honey,
are you alright?" I knew immediately that his main concern was
for me, not the car. We didn't have much money and I felt really
bad at having damaged my dad's car. He immediately sensed my
remorse. His next comment was, "We'll get the car fixed. As long
as you're abight that's all that matters." At that moment, my dad
to me was ten feet tall. He didn't tell me what a stupid thing I
had done. I already knew that. The funny thing is, the car has
long since faded from my memory, but the memory of my dad's kind
and understanding response to me in that difficult situation will
be with me for the rest of my life. I never had to wonder if he
really loved me.

     A child should always know that Mom and Dad are their very
best friends. This is not to say that a child should never be
punished for anything. Rules have to be laid down for your
children for their own protection, and when they break those
rules, some kind of punishment needs to be administered. But,
make the punishment fit the "crime." A child senses when he is
being overpunished. Overpunishment results in resentment and
ultimately rebellion. Remember that punishing out of anger will
often cause you to overpunish. God has laws for us adults which
if we break will bring about punishment of some kind. In the same
way, a child needs to learn early that breaking your rules
results in punishment. But, after the punishment has been
administered, a child needs to know that he is forgiven and still
loved very much. Children brought up this way will have no
problem as adults responding to God's love and knowing without a
doubt that God can and will forgive all their sins once they
become truly repentant and sorry for them.

     Remember one other point and make this an iron clad rule.
Love your children unconditionally. Don't make your children have
to earn your love. There may be times when it will be appropriate
to let a child understand that he must act in a certain way in
order to earn your approval, but NEVER your love. The child must
always know that you are going to love him no matter what. Ask
yourself this question, "Does God ever put conditions on His love
toward us?" The Bible says in Romans 5:8 that Christ loved us
while we were still in our sins.

     Next to love, the most important thing you can give your
children is a PURPOSE for living. Teach your children why they
were born and what their ultimate destiny is. To do this, you
must first learn these things for yourself. You cannot pass on
knowledge to your children that you yourself do not have. One of
the most important things you can do for your children is to be
the right kind of example for them.
     Teach your children how to respond to God. Children learn by
association and a child will learn to respond to God by the way
they are taught to respond to their parents.
     Don't be afraid to admit your errors to your children. If
you never admit you are wrong about anything, your children will
grow up the same way. How will they ever be able to repent of
sins before God if they never learn to say "I'm sorry, I was
wrong?" You must as a parent set the example before them.
     Give your children roots to hold onto. Always "be there" for
your children, even after they leave home. Children should always
know that as long as Mom and Dad are alive and able, they will be
willing and ready to help, not to be taken advantage of, but as a
valuable source of encouragement. Home should be a base from
which to conquer all life's challenges, a respite or quiet haven
to turn to temporarily when the storms of life threaten to engulf
and overwhelm them. Even a child that has graduated from school
and left home to make their own way in the world needs to know
that "home". will always be home. They need to have the security
of knowing they can always depend on Mom and Dad. Don't take that
security away from them. Even if they never return home for any
length of time, they still need that security. If they don't have
it, they will turn to other things and other people in an attempt
to find that basic security. One reason young people turn to
drugs and wrong friends is that they are searching for that safe
haven they can always depend on.

     In this "do your own thing" society, it seems that parents
just can't wait for the kids to grow up and leave home so they
can get on with what they want to do in life. It's as if having
children has been a bothersome interruption of their lives and
now they are ready for them to "leave the nest" and not bother
them any more. This attitude toward children growing up is
devastating to their sense of security and well being. They will
learn to make it on their own, alright. I've seen people who have
reared their children this way. Now they are old and lonely and
wonder why their son or daughter never comes to visit them. The
truth is, the son or daughter is simply following the example set
before them, living life in a totally selfish way and chances are
they are rearing their own children the same way.

     Children are a gift from God. Our investment in the future.
A reason to get up in the morning and face another day's work.
They are a source of joy and pleasure that makes the struggles of
daily living a little easier.
     Learn to encourage rather than criticize your children.
Children who live with constant criticism grow up to be self
rejecting people.
     Don't build guilt feelings into your children for things
that are not their fault. Remember this too, if things are not
right between Mom and Dad, children tend to feel it is their
fault.

     Teach your children that true happiness comes only through a
right relationship with God and working toward their ultimate
purpose in life. Teach them to never depend upon other people to
make them happy. We make ourselves happy or unhappy. This is the
reason a lot of marriages fail. Two people fall in love and say
in their minds, "This man or this woman is going to make me
the happiest person in the world." Then after they marry, the
blush of romance begins to fade. The pressures of daily life
begin and frustrations and pressures build up. They begin to
think, "I guess I married the wrong person. He or she has not
made me happy." 
     Prepare your children to meet the world head on. Don't send
them out vulnerable to this society. Teach them that this is not
God's society. Follow the example of Christ. He told those he
loved, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.
Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves" (Matthew
10:16). Teach them to be wary of the pitfalls they will face.

     Tell them well ahead of time about the "peer pressure" they
will be faced with. Teach them how to say "no" to wrong actions
when tempted by their friends. Help them to understand what the
ultimate consequences of wrong actions are going to be.
     Talk to your kids about drugs and sex. Be honest with them.
Tell them about the pulls toward the thrills and "kicks" that
they will be tempted by, then teach them what the end result will
be. Give them examples to see. Point out cases where some young
person burned their brains up with drugs or got hooked on
something and sought release through suicide. Suicide is one of
the number one killers of teenagers today. Arm your children by
giving them the right answers long before the questions arise.

     Teach your children that it's O.K. to be different. Teach
them that they are special, that they are young princes and
princesses, future rulers of this world in God's Kingdom. Make
them feel special and they will act special. Let them know that
they are worthwhile people with a great purpose ahead of them
that not everyone is chosen for. 
     Teach your children to depend upon God. Teach them to be
aware at all times of God's angels which surround them to protect
them. Teach them that angels are here to watch over God's people.
Angels are the eyes of God. Teach them that God is always
watching over them and is very much interested in every detail of
their lives.
     Teach children to pray at a young age. Talking to God should
come as naturally to a child as talking to a parent. Children
will not be embarrassed to pray is they have been taught from
childhood that God is real, that He is their Father, and that He
is always present with them.

     Instill faith in children at an early age. It's so hard for
us as adults, sometimes, to simply trust God, but a child will
believe what you tell him. If you teach him that he can trust
God, he will believe you. Faith and believing go hand-in-hand. If
a child grows up believing God, he will have no trouble in
trusting Him as an adult. Teach your children to love God by
showing them how much God loves them.

     Accept your children for what they are no matter how badly
they may fail. Teach them to reach for the stars, but always let
them know that if they don't quite achieve their goals in life
that to you they are the very best. Don't push a child beyond his
limits, but don't limit a child through criticism and comments
like, "You can't do anything right" or "You'll never amount to
anything." A child will tend to live up to your expectations of
him either for good or for bad.

     Finally, spend time with your children. Proverbs 29:15 says,
"A child left to himself brings his mother to shame." Learn to
enjoy your children and do fun things with them. Make growing up
a fun experience for them. You do not have to spend a lot of
money doing things with them. It is you, not things, that they
need.

     God is looking for people who will keep alive the knowledge
of His truth and His purpose. People who will be loyal to Him and
always stand for right, truth, and goodness in an evil world.
People who will pass these things on to their children and teach
them to keep His law.

                           ....................

Written: No date on the copy I have, it's been in my files for 15
years or more. But such truths on childrearing are never out of
date - Keith Hunt


 
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