Reboot. Or maybe boot camp. Something of a control-alt-delete sequence is how this parenting class has felt for me.
My husband and his friend have been leading a parenting class at our church. As couples, we led a similar class about 5 years ago and it's not that I'd forgotten everything or that any of the material has been actually new. But it has been a good reminder-- Of what our deepest goals are for our children.
We pray for true heart change and not just outward external obedience. We want them to know and love the Lord and live for Him. We desire close relationships and connection with each on of them. And we need God's Word to permeate every aspect of our interaction with them.
I've been thinking about how easy it is, in the heat of the moment, when I'm digging half-melted-Disney-princess-plastic-dolls-shoes out of the heater vent for the second time... To forget that my words, my response, needs to flow from God's words of grace and it also needs to be rooted in His call to obedience.
His "children obey your parents in the Lord...that it may go well with you" (Eph. 6:1-3) is the foundation for my response, not irritation at the inconvenience.
So, I've been thinking about ways to get back to the basics of letting the Bible be the foundation for the discipline and training of our children.
Here are some ways you can start using God's Word to correct in your family.
1) We need to go back and teach or re-teach biblical foundations.
The everyday talk of biblical concepts comes fairly naturally to both my husband and me, but especially with our youngest, we need to go back to some of the basics of parent/child relationships.
At a time before correction is needed, we need to sit down and explain God's desire for children to obey their parents. We need to pull out our Bibles and read through some key verses about correction and training. A couple of good ones to start with are: Eph. 6: 1-3, Col. 3:20, and Hebrews 12.
We need to redefine obedience. In our family, our definition is obeying-- quickly, completely, and with a good attitude.
2) As a family, we need to memorize verses that will be helpful.
If there is a particular area where we, or our children are struggling, we need to find and memorize Bible verses that apply. Instead of merely telling our children to "get along" or "stop fighting" we need to let God's Word speak into our relationships. Lately we've been struggling with self-discipline, so you can find this verse in various places around our house.
3) We need to use actual verses in correction and training--
Instead of telling our 4-year-old to "stop whining" we need to be prepared to take our children to Phil. 2:14 where God says to "do all things without grumbling or disputing" or to walk our child through the Exodus story where God reprimanded the Israelites for grumbling against the Lord (Exodus 16).
One of the best resources I've found to help me quickly find verses is the Child Training Bible. Over the years, it has also helped me to create my own little symbols that I put next to verses that relate to a particular subject or topic.
Here's an example from Proverbs where I've used "PC" to note any verse that relates to a parent-child relationship and "HW" to note those that relate to marriage or husband-wife relationships. The odd scribble-ish-mess-symbol is my attempt at a "fire" which is what I put next to verses that have to do with the tongue or words. This has just been a helpful way for me to prepare ahead of time so that I can quickly locate a verse when I need to share it with a child (or with myself).
Whether it's watching a movie, checking the weather, reading a book, listening to music, taking a walk, or driving to swim team practice-- we need to "talk freely and naturally about God" with our children.
My husband and I both really appreciate John Younts' book, Everyday Talk, for its emphasis on using "ordinary conversations to show (our) kids the goodness and wisdom of God".
We need to pray each morning that we will look for and notice opportunities to mesh God's words in the Bible with moment by moment life. Even something as simple as cutting open a pear that looks beautiful on the outside, but is rotten within can bear witness to God's Truth.
5) We need to pray God's Word for our children.
There are so many resources available to help us pray for our children. My friend Brooke has a new book specifically about Praying for Boys and this past post from The Better Mom has free printable prayer cards. I love Jodie Berndt's book, Praying the Scriptures for Your Children. In the forward to Berndt's book, Fern Nichols writes:
“I believe the greatest influence a mom can have in the life of her child is through prayer. As she stands in the gap for her beloved child, the Sovereign Lord of heaven and earth hears and answers her prayers...When we pray the promises of God for our children, our faith increases because we are praying back the very words of God.” It can also be as simple as just picking a passage from God's Word to start praying this very day. A great one to start with is Eph. 1: 15-19:
"For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might..."
We know that the Bible is living and active, able to determine motives, correct, and change hearts. I want to move back towards using God's Words vs. my own words when it comes to correcting and training our kiddos.
I'd love to hear some of your favorite resources or ways that you have used God's word in parenting your children.
Love, Kara at The Chuppies