In worship last Sunday, Lauren and Bo Magnie shared an original composition they had written about parenting. Lauren lamented about how Elena and Otis are growing up and how, no matter what their age, our children always need to know that they can fall into their parent's arms when they need to.
Proverbs 22:6 is a familiar verse with a clear message: "Train a child in the way that he or she should go." I remind us all of that verse because some parents say, "I'm just going to let my child figure life out. He can decide about his faith. She can discover her own values." Personally, I think that's insane. We are parents for a reason. We have knowledge and experience that our children need.
We all know how strenuous parenting is, but if moms and dads don't train their children in the way they should go, the television and Internet will. Their friends at school will.
Ephesians 6:4 tells us what kind of training is most important: "Fathers and mothers, bring your children up in the training and instruction of the Lord." If we do that, I believe our children will thank us for it down the road.
How do we raise our children in the instruction of the Lord? Let me suggest a few simple things. First, get into God's Word yourself. You can't teach what you don't know. Ten minutes a day -- get into God's Word yourself so you can teach it.
Establish little rituals -- like praying with your kids at night as you put them to bed. Put a good Bible verse where they'll continually see it. Lead them to church, and let other people instruct them (and what our Imagine Kids and Imagine Nation Youth leaders are teaching them is wonderful and life-changing).
Read to your children from the book of Proverbs. I started reading Proverbs as a teenager, and it taught me how to live life. Finally, live by God's commands yourself. Model God's ways. It's never too late to jump in and model God's way, even for your adult children.
Live the life that Christ wants you to live, and your kids will notice that. They will even thank you for it one day.
In the name of the One who can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
Bruce Jones, Pastor and Co-Creator,
Imagine Church of the Carolinas