Children seem to have an infinite capacity to ask the “why” question. They start early with their questions. “Why do I have to eat my vegetables?” “Why do I have to go to bed?” As children go off to school, the questions keep coming. “Why do I have to get up so early?” “Why do we have to study calculus?” And sooner or later, children will ask the “why” questions about your family’s rules and moral choices. How you answer reveals a lot about how you see the world. How you answer will also shape your child’s understanding of your beliefs. What do you say when they ask why?
Every parent has felt anger toward their children at one time or another. While there is such a thing as righteous anger, most of the anger I’ve given into as a parent was more the result of impatience, lack of grace and the feeling that my goals were being blocked. This week, I read Sam Crabtree’s excellent article on how to keep your cool when your children misbehave. Let me share some of the things I learned and add some other things that have helped me.
Authority can be used selfishly, arbitrarily, or cruelly. It can also be used for good. The Bible makes a unique contribution to understanding how a leader’s authority should be used. It shows how to use authority by pointing to a shepherd’s two main tools, the rod and the staff.
With the stakes so high, we need to remember what we’re aiming for in the influence of our teen’s faith. Just making them go to church and be good is not the goal.
What the Bible says about how to be a good parent when thousands of miles separate mother and child.
Last month I shared some of the most important lessons God has taught me about parenting. With our Summer Sunday School presentation coming up on Sunday, and families getting ready to go back to school next week, I thought I’d share three more of those lessons that have helped me most.
I'm on vacation this week, but while I'm off I wanted to pass along an article that I originally wrote back in the fall of 2015 on lessons God has taught me about parenting.
On Sunday we had a time of dedication. The parents dedicated themselves before God and the church family to train and love their baby and seek her salvation. And we dedicated ourselves before God to love and support their family in their commitments. For me it was an opportunity to think on some of the lessons God has taught me about parenting.
The challenge of parenting takes most parents by surprise. We get used to the diapers and the late nights. We adjust to the new financial implications and the reordering of our schedules. But there’s nothing more difficult than the first time we come face-to-face with a child’s defiance. The battles come from any number of issues: when to wake up, when to go to sleep, what to eat, what to wear, where to sit, how to act. In Ephesians 6, Paul writes, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right,” and then he quotes the fifth commandment with the promise, “that it may go well with you.” This confirms what we instinctively sense, but goes against the idea that self-expression is what a child most needs. Regardless of what some may think, rejecting a parent’s authority isn’t a natural part of a child’s path toward healthy independence. But how can a parent help?
On Sunday, we hosted the second in our two-part parenting seminar with Paul Tripp. He helped us deal with what he felt was the biggest weakness in Christian parenting – dealing with the surface rather than the substance. He said that he often hears from parents about children who have gone off to university and leave the faith. Often, he felt, they hadn’t left the faith at all. What had happened was that children with a veneer of Christianity had stepped out from under their parents’ tight control and demonstrated that their faith really didn’t go beyond mere parental compliance. This, he sees, is the common product of parenting that aims to regulate behaviour without reaching the heart. Let me explain.
Two weeks ago, we hosted the first of a two-part parenting seminar with Paul David Tripp. It differed from many talks and books on parenting in that it wasn’t particularly prescriptive. While it was incredibly practical, it didn’t aim to give a list of tips: “In this situation, do this.” Instead, it gave a holistic mindset for parenting by which parenting strategies can be better evaluated and incorporated. It helped parents lost in the trees, catch a glimpse of the forest. Three highlights stand out.