‘These commandments… Impress them on your children.’ Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NIV
Teach your children to respond the right way to God’s direction and correction. Help them to understand that God’s correction is not rejection. ‘My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.’ (Proverbs 3:11-12 NIV) To help them understand this, first teach them to respond correctly to your discipline. The rules you don’t enforce now will be enforced by others later, at a higher cost. But let your discipline be fair, not excessive. And be consistent. Don’t permit today what you punished yesterday. Saying things like, ‘How many times have I told you?’ or, ‘If you do that again you’re grounded’ means you’re not serious and that they have several warnings before you act. Enforce it! Don’t threaten unless you intend to follow through. Secondly, teach them to respond correctly to authority figures. ‘Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established…’ (Romans 13:1 NIV) Don’t belittle police, teachers, head teachers, pastors, and so on. If you do, it will come back to bite you and your children. Thirdly, share your own experiences of personal growth through correction. Let them know you’re not perfect; it will help them relate to your humanity as a parent and it’ll give them hope. ‘If Mum and Dad learned by being corrected when they blew it, I can too.’ Well-chosen times of personal sharing are much more effective than nagging and ‘sermonising’!
SoulFood: Ex 16-18, Luke 12:35-48, Ps 66:13-20, Pr 6:23-25
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