It may be a stretch to call the Bible the world’s first parenting book, but it’s no stretch to say that every parent can up his or her game by studying and applying the wisdom of Scripture. If you’re not sure where to begin your search for parenting wisdom, here are a few places to consider.
How do you prepare kids for a life journey when you have no idea where that journey will take them? You train them to orient themselves according to God’s GPS. They may not always follow His directions to a “T,” but they’ll know when they’re off course. And they’ll know which direction to head to find the path they need.
“Do as I say” is a poor substitute for “Do as I do,” although it is a lot more convenient. It’s no small thing to tell your children to imitate you. To make it work, you must understand your strengths—and especially your weaknesses. You won’t set a perfect example, no matter how hard you try to imitate Christ. But it’s in your imperfections that you can really make a difference in your kids’ lives. If they see you working hard to get better—to become more Christlike in every area of your life—they’ll have a blueprint to follow in their own lives.
The essential qualities of church leaders that Paul identifies in his letter to Titus can double as essential qualities for parents. Not all of them come naturally, but all of them are attainable through prayer and sustained effort. To master these qualities, we need to be self-aware. We need to recognize situations in which we tend to be irreverent or impatient. We also need an accountability partner (in the form of our spouse) to help us recognize when we fall short of the mark.
Parental authority must be exercised wisely and judiciously. Paul warns against a heavy-handed approach to childrearing. Intimidation is not an effective parenting tool. Obedience without respect is an empty achievement—and a temporary one. Kids who are bullied into obeying will resent it eventually. As they get older, many will be provoked into anger and acting out.
In contrast, parental authority that incorporates humility, humor, empathy, transparency, and two-way communication is more likely to inspire respectful obedience in kids.
Thomas Nelson’s new NKJV and KJV Youth Edition Bibles are lightweight and easy-to-carry for the student on the go to church, school, and summer camp. The quality of the materials used to make these editions are a step up from the normal standard and, at an excellent price, these new youth edition Bibles make great gifts for birthdays, graduations, youth camps, or other special events.