This week’s chapter is one that kind of brings us back to the early years. Back to when we were just starting to read books about parenting; in chapter two, Newheiser gives us some means God may use to help us achieve two main goals that we must have in mind as we raise our children; principles which are the core foundation that our children will, God willing, take with them before they walk out of our home’s door.
But before I continue, I would like to take a minute to encourage those moms who are reading along, and know that they have failed to instill these truths in their children’s heart. Maybe you came to an understanding of what true parenting means too late in life, or maybe you were just too busy doing other things that you left aside the essence of a true education in the Lord. It is today the time to repent, to find forgiveness before God, and move on. Move on, to seek restoration with your children and to pray fervently for them. God is full of grace and Grace meets us when and where we need it most. It is never too late, as the authors of this book say, to “Show them Jesus.”
And now a word for moms with younger children, read this and make it your priority to install, by the grace of God, these truths in your child’s heart.
Chapter Two: Before You Walk Out That Door…
Newheiser, starts this chapter clearly stating that respect must always be present in our relationship with our children. It is one of the key factors he says, that enables us to shape their hearts as they mature. When I respect my children’s point of view, when I learn how to listen patiently (as we read in Ch.1), I can build a relationship in which my advice can be taken. How important it is to take note of these words to avoid falling in the trap of thinking that we know best and we never fail to have the perfect advice:
“They [their children] trusted our counsel because we respected them and only spoke absolutes when we could prove our point clearly from the Bible.” (emphasis mine)
Now, the author points out two main goals we must have as we raise our children into maturity (same goals that Paul had for those he was discipling): 1) that they will love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith (1Tim.1:5 NASB), 2) and they will come to know and to believe the love that God has for us (1 John 4:16). To reach these goals, Newheiser suggests these means:
1. Teach your children the love of God in Jesus Christ. This is, Newheiser asserts, our primary calling: to show our children Jesus. And how is it that we are going to show them Jesus now that they are adults? The only way to do this is to live in such a way that we may invite them to see our manner of life and imitate us.
2. Teach your children to fear God and live for His glory. True, “we cannot make our children wise.” But we can continually pray for them; “pray that the Holy Spirit will use our meager, faltering attempts as means to speak to our children’s hearts.”
3. Show your children how to put others ahead of themselves. How much we need this in the body of Christ! Men and women who are willing to live putting others first -in all possible practical way- is, without a doubt, a need in the church and in our communities. And there is no other way to teach them how to live like this without first pointing them to Jesus and setting an example ourselves.
4. Help your children how to communicate with wisdom and humility. This is teaching them “the art of avoiding unnecessary offenses though quarreling, and careless or angry speech.” It means also, teaching them how to listen actively and carefully to build each other up, to solve conflicts biblically, and to confront sin with all gentleness.
5. Teach your children God’s design for sex and marriage. This is not trivial, in this age there are many false teachers -especially among our young adults- spreading the lies of egalitarianism.What a gift to teach them from the Bible the different roles God gave men and women.
6. Teach your children to choose their friends carefully. This point reminded me of something Douglas Wilson posted this week: As you choose your friends, remember this — you are choosing what you will be praised for. Amen to that.
7. Let your children practice making the choices of adulthood. By doing this we encourage them into maturity and dependence on God. We want them to take firm steps, not to be crippled.
8. Teach your children the true value of hard work and money. To work hard to earn a living, but not to live to make money is, in my opinion, a perfect way to explain this.
The author finishes this chapter by encouraging us to keep praying and seeking God’s wisdom to be able to discern and to have our hearts enlightened “to correctly say either ‘good-bye’ or ‘please stay.'”
As I finished reading this chapter, I kept thinking that the only way to truly be at peace about our children leaving our home is to trust their are the Lord’s and that He will finish His work in their lives. Trials will come, difficult circumstances will arise, but to know that they have been raised in a covenant home must help strengthen our confidence. When we have raised our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord; when we trust wholeheartedly that our Lord wants to save them and sanctify them, then we can continue to pray and persevere in building a relationship with them in hope. It is Grace, the Grace of God, that draws our children to Him, it is His loving-kindness that leads them to repentance, and His Mercy that welcomes them. Now they are adults, maybe they are not living at home anymore, but we can approach them as brothers and sisters in Christ understanding that we belong one to another because of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Now, Friends, I would love to hear your thoughts on this chapter, join the conversation by leaving a comment below.
Have a blessed day, sisters!