Parenting is something we do once in a lifetime. We cannot do it again once it is gone. And when we do parenting consciously and purposefully, it is the most fulfilling and rewarding thing ever in this life.
So, I want to share the following eight points to a parent who wants to do parenting consciously, purposefully and intentionally to mark their kids, the next generation, for the glory of God. Not that these eight points will make parenting any easier but may help you play your parenting role every moment with the goal in mind:
1. Telling your little ones to behave in a certain way when guests come over teach them to have a double life, encouraging them to prevail on “Fakebook” early on in life. Instead teach and encourage them to behave authentic life all the time, whether guests are over to your home or not.
2. Giving too much emphasis on things that will naturally disappear from your kids’ lives make you lose those teaching moments you have with your kid. For example, giving your little ones hard times with your one thousand “Don’t fart” instructions may not be a wise use of your parenting time since “farting” everywhere is a natural phenomenon for little kids and this habit quickly disappears as they get older. That is why we hardly see adults “farting” in a public place. So why focus on it too much now. Instead focus on things that your kids may not learn naturally, such as how to have praiseworthy characters such as how to honor and respect you, their parents, so it will be well with them as the Bible says (Deuteronomy 5:16).
3. Hitting the chair because your little ones stumbled and fell on it teach them how to take revenge and how to avoid responsibility for their own faults. Instead, show them how the chair won’t bother them if they walk away from it. By doing that you teach them how to take responsibility for their own actions and how they can change their environment by changing themselves instead of wasting their time and energy in getting even with others who did or did not do anything to hurt them.
4. Giving your little ones food or your phones when they cry for your attention teach them to see food and technology as medicines to silence their natural, human relational and emotional needs. Some researcher, such Dr. Archibald D. Hart and Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd (father and daughter), author of “Digital Invasion” are trying to show the effect of this in a society. Obesity and emotional and mental illnesses are becoming pandemic in the US as parents mainly use food and technologies as their number one tools to raise their kids. So, instead of turning to food and technology, attend to your kids’ emotion, talk to them, ask them and play with them. This will teach them the value of human relationships.
5. Disciplining your kids so they will be quiet and stop what you want them to stop won’t teach them anything except seeing you as a police office. Instead, as my hubby used to say when our kids were little, “target their hearts.” For example, if they defiantly disobey you, ignoring what you tell them, take time with them, asking them the open-ended question, “Why are you jumping on the table after I told you not to do that?” Or, “Why are you annoying your sister? Do you feel happy when you see her sad? Why?” – This gives them opportunity to let you see what is going on in their little heart. Don’t accuse or judge them for their actions; but help them to see what they can do differently and reward them when they get it right.
6. Preaching to your kids how to pray and read the Bible, the very things that you don’t do won’t do them any good except teaching them to see God and the things of God as irrelevant things in life. Instead, teach them those lifetime lessons by modeling them before their very eyes. When your kids see you reading/studying your Bible, fasting and praying and going to church, they follow suit. No need to preach to them about these things.
7. Taking your kids to church as if the church was supposed to mainly add something into their spiritual lives teach them how to be “consumers,” making them “church hoppers” early in life (hopping from one church to another). Instead teach your kids how to be “producers” by showing them how to dig deep into the word of God over the week and go to church for corporate worship and to share with others the spiritual treasures they found over the week. In that way, you teach your little ones early on that church is a place they go to give their services to others and share with others their spiritual as well as financial wealth God has blessed them with.
8. Taking your little ones to church while you don’t have any of those Christian disciplines (praying and reading/studying the word of God) in your home teach them to see Christianity and going to church as one of your old and long held “traditions.” And when they get older, they struggle to see Christianity as a lifestyle. So, instead, strive to show them that Christianity is not your tradition but your life that they see every day. ///