Paul tells the church to not provoke your children to anger, but raise them up in the discipline and encouragement of the Lord. All discipline will fail, and all encouragement with no discipline will fail. You have to have balance. I think all of us in here want to do this, but how? Practically, how can we raise our kids in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?
Illustration: We all have memories of our childhood and our relationship with our parents. You may have really good memories of life with your parents, and some of you may not. Some may desire to emulate your parents in the fullest, and some in here want to do the complete opposite. In many cases, your kids will parent the way that you parent. I was fortunate to be brought up in a good home. Practically, there are some things my parents did that I want to emulate, and then there are some things that are not for us.
The question we should ask ourselves, “is our parenting worth modeling?”
- Model the Gospel– Church is not the only time that students should hear about the Gospel. That will not make a difference. You need to be talking about it at home during the week. Ask your teens what they are learning in Sunday school, youth group, or Bible class. I encourage you to try to do family devotions. I recognize that we are busy, but take the time to open up conversations about the Gospel. Talk about what the Pastor spoke on after church. If talking about the Gospel to your kids is uncomfortable, that is not a good thing. It should be a normal and regular conversation.
- Model Respect to Authority– One of the greatest legacy’s that you can teach your kids are how they deal with authority. Every kid goes through a time of rebellion toward authority, but it is vital how us as parents handle authority. For example, I had mad problems with authority. I got in trouble a lot. I would do anything to get a laugh, and I thought it was hilarious if I could stump the teacher on something. Every time that I came home regardless of the story, my parents appeared to take the teacher’s side. It ticked me off at the time. Sometimes, I had a valid argument, and that I was actually innocent, but my parents still took the teacher’s side. Several years ago, I asked my parents why they always took the teacher’s side. They said, well, there were occasions where we went and spoke with him to get clarification, but we did not want you to think that as a teenager, you could question or ever disrespect authority regardless of what they do to you. Today, I have no problem with authority. Whoever is working above me, I do not question their methods or why they do what they do, because my parents correctly handled authority in my life. If my parents had of said things like “that teacher is stupid, that teacher is not smart, I should teach the class.” Or, “That youth pastor was off base, etc.” Be careful what message we send kids about authority. They will always have authority so it is important that we send them the right message about authority while they are young. Sometimes (not all of the time), the reason kids have a problem with authority is because their parents have a problem with authority.
- Model Forgiveness– Teens get wronged all of the time, don’t they? A girl gets mad at another girl. A dude starts dating his friend’s ex girlfriend. It can be anything. When these things happen, it is important that we are modeling forgiveness. Parents, when you are wronged, always show forgiveness. Don’t get angry at the person in front of your kids. Don’t live with unforgiveness in front of your children. Don’t defriend people on facebook when you have conflict, because it sends your kids the wrong message about how to deal with conflict. Jesus forgave us of far greater so who we are we to harbor bitterness toward others.
- Model Gratitude– Be grateful. I admit, my daughter is a bit spoiled. I am nervous that we have attributed to this. I want her to be grateful for what she already has. She is starting to see stuff, and saying “I want ___________.” I want her to be grateful for what she has, because there are tons of people less fortunate than her. I want her used to saying thank you to people when they bless her with something. For example, I will never forget Dylan Hemrick, a student of mine, after an all nighter. We had gone to the WOL Superbowl in Charlotte. I hate all nighters personally. I do them, because teens love them, but they are not fun for me. When we got back, Dylan was the last one picked up, and I was waiting around for him ready to go home. He said on his own without prompting, “Pastor Josh, today’s all nighter was the best youth trip I had ever been on. Thank you for taking me.” I will never forget the energy that comment brought me. When people say “Thank you,” it energizes the person who is on the receiving end
Parents, is the way that you are parenting right now worthy of being modeled? When your kids become parents, will it be okay that they parent the same way you do right now?