Parenting: Begin With the End in Mind

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I'm a father of 3 little children, and it's easy to forget the big picture of raising kids. Life as a parent can be hectic: changing diapers, planning meals, washing and folding laundry, and keeping our kids from hurting themselves is constant. As they get older, getting them from point A to point B can be extremely busy. As life flies by, we can forget the most important thing about parenting. We can forget the big picture and end result.

What is the big picture of raising kids?

The big picture of parenting is to pray for and help build a legacy of faith for generations to come.

Rob Rienow says, "God created your family to be a discipleship center that will build a legacy of faith for generations to come. Once we catch this vision for multigenerational faithfulness, we understand taht the parenting choices we make today have the power to affect our children, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren, and beyond (Visionary Parenting)."

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Exodus 20:5-6 says: "I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments."

As you can see our parenting today can impact our grandkids tomorrow. In a busy world, we often forget this concept.

You may have come from a tough background and family life of non-believers. As a parent, you have the opportunity to break the generational curse and focus on generational faithfulness.

The way we break the curse is by teaching our kids in the ways of God so that when they are older they won't depart from these ways (Proverbs 22:6). 

Tim Keller says, "The essence of parenting is teaching." We must teach our kids that the ways of Jesus Christ have value for all things (I Timothy 4:7-8). 

In order for us to teach our kids God's Word, we must teach them how to honor us as parents and how to honor other adults or those in authority. Once they learn how to honor their parents inside the home, it will make it much easier to honor others outside of the home. If they learn how to honor authority, they will be teachable and open to learning from you about God's Word. If they don't honor you at home, why should they honor anyone else, and why would they want to learn from you about God?

 Here are some simple ways we can teach our kids how to honor us as parents so in turn they will honor other adults they come into contact with:

1. Just Say "Please" and "Thank You" -- We need to teach our kids to have more gratitude and less attitude. The way they learn gratitude is by saying please when they want something and thank you when they receive it. If they learn this at home, they will do it in public.

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2. First Call -- When you ask your kid(s) to do something, you should only have to call their name one time. If you call their name 3 times, count to 10, or warn them, this sets a bad pattern and gives them a way out. They must learn to come to you the first time. If they don't bad habits will set in, and they will learn quickly how to get away with stuff. Quickly discipline them if they don't come the first time.

3. Teach Them to Listen to and Pray for Their Grandparents -- Whenever they are with their grandparents, teach them to listen to them as they share stories or talk. Teach them to pray for them and thank the Lord for them. Whenever the grandparent is in your home, you can have them sit at the head of the table to recognize their authority, worth, and dignity. Whenever they leave, teach them to hug them and walk them out to the door. If your parents are believers, ask them to read your kids Bible stories and tell them stories of how God was faithful to them and their parents. This will help pass a strong legacy (Psalm 78:2-8).

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Once they honor their parents and grandparents, they will see the importance of honoring other adults they come into contact with. As they interact with other adults (teachers, coaches, etc.) teach them to say thank you when they leave. Teach them to talk to them with respect, to make eye contact, and to listen to them.

Honoring authority is a big part of discipleship. If they honor you, they will be teachable. If we teach them in the ways of God, there will be faithfulness for the generations to come.

For more on this topic, listen to a sermon I gave here. 

 

 

 

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