There is only one right answer, according to Scripture:
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deut. 6:6-9
“...bring them up in the nurture (discipline) and admonition (instruction) of the Lord.” Eph. 6:4
We are so distracted. We pour our time and money into providing our children (and ourselves) with all sorts of entertainment, luxuries, opportunities–which in and of themselves aren’t bad things, they just aren’t things that matter much in God’s economy. Meanwhile, we neglect our one responsibility: to intentionally, diligently, daily instruct our children in the things of God, making disciples out of them. I am guilty of failing to be intentional.
THAT’S our job. That is why God gave us children. And we miss that because we forget the purpose of children. They are His heritage to us. What does that mean? A gift, given to steward with particular instructions, so that the next generation will be multiplied and grown in effectiveness for the Kingdom of God.
If we could get that, remember that and parent like we understood that, the whole world would be turned upside down!
Intentional parenting: to train our children, in the ordinary daily moments, with the specific teaching from Scripture that guides their understanding of right and wrong, wisdom and foolishness.
Jesus did it with his earthly children. Not in a formal class setting, but in a Deuteronomy lifestyle–walking alongside them all day, every day.
So when our children do something wrong, it’s not enough to say, “Stop it!” That teaches them nothing except my own desires for them to behave a certain way. I need to consider the law of God they are breaking, and remind them of that, and that reminds them of their constant need of a Savior.
“Is that a wise thing to do?”
“Are you esteeming others better than yourself?”
“Is that book ‘true, honest, just, pure’….?”
“What does the Bible say about that?”
“The Bible says…..”
Jesus constantly referred back to Scripture as He taught, answered questions and challenged His disciples to see everything through the lens of truth.
Let us be reminded of the eternal things of parenting, and not be so distracted by the “hay and stubble” that we fail to do the one thing for which He gave us children: make disciples for His Kingdom.