By Pastor Peter Tanchi (Dated: May 22, 2011)
God holds parents responsible to teach and train their children (Deuteronomy 6:1-2). The big picture of parenting is seen on how Jesus developed. “And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”(Luke 5:52) Parents must therefore be intentional in helping their children develop mentally, physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.
It has been said that parenting should begin as early as 20 years before the child is born. This means that parenting preparation must begin now, whatever your civil status is. Moreover, biblical parenting is useful in helping us disciple others as a spiritual parent.
While parents naturally desire to influence their children positively, they often utilize wrong parenting styles. Some tend to be overcontrolling; some tend to be dictatorial, while others tend to be more passive with their children. Most would use position and power to gain control, intimidating the child with their size or voice to make them obey. Although this may work when the child is young, in the long run, this becomes self-defeating and ineffective. It is not enough to focus on the child’s external behavior alone.
Effective parenting focuses on the heart. Samuel writes that what is important to the Lord is the heart (1 Samuel 16:7), for until the heart is changed, the person is not really transformed. Impacting the children’s hearts brings about lasting change in behaviour, and ultimately, in their lives.
Modeling is the most effective way to teach and influence our children, not lectures. Children watch their parents and copy them. Thus it follows that children will become who their parents are. This is why modeling is crucial. Parents can’t say one thing and do another. Lifestyle teaching is the way of heart parenting (Deuteronomy 6:6-9). It is teaching God’s word to our children and modeling how to apply it consistently in everyday life.
What should parents model? Parents must model loving God with all our heart, soul and mind (Deuteronomy 6:4). We are to connect our children to God. When our children love the Lord, everything else will be easier to teach because they will be obedient. As parents, we should also model how to be a loving husband or a submissive wife. We should also model Christlike character, integrity, honesty, love, obedience and submission to authority. Remember that character and values are caught, not taught.
To be able to model effectively, you need to spend time with those you want to influence. The more time you spend with them, the greater your influence is. Are you putting a high premium on your time with your family? Or are they merely getting left-over time and energy?
Whether married or single, we are to be good models at home. In 1 Timothy 4:12, it says, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” Being young of age is not an excuse to being a godly model in the family.
We need to ask ourselves, “What do I want my child to become?” and then be that ourselves. As a parent, are you living your life in such a way that you would be able to confidently tell your children, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ”? (1 Corinthians 11:1) Be a good model, because your children will become who you are today.
Next month: Gratitude Changes Our Attitude by Pastor Joby Soriano on the Best of CCF’s Weekly Chronicles here on chester2278.wordpress.com.