Tuesday, June 28, 2011

#1 Tool for Parenting

The best wisdom I have to offer regarding parenting has come from 1 source, but has been reinforced through my own experiences, as well.  Permit me to introduce it this way:  if God is our heavenly Father, and He is, then I should be able to learn how to be a father by observing, and learning from, Him.  It just makes sense.  The best way I can do this is to spend some time with the Bible, specifically observing how God handled situations as a Father.  For example:

Genesis 2-3

The Father:
-          Set up boundaries for the children
-        Met all of the children's needs
-          Gave clear instructions with consequences
-          Assigned clear responsibilities to the children

The children:     disobey the Father’s clear instructions, choosing the consequences determined by the Father

The Father:  confronted disobedience and chased it to its source – “Have you done what I commanded you not to do?”

Adam:           blamed someone else - “Yes, but it’s her fault.”

The Father:  “Is this true?”

Eve:               blamed someone else - “Yes, but it’s his fault.”

The Father:  handed out punishments to each individual involved, starting from the source and moving down the line.
-          “Serpent, here are the consequences you’ve chosen.”
-          “Eve, here are the consequences you’ve chosen”
-          “Adam, here are the consequences you’ve chosen.”
The Father:        
-          Followed through on what He said He would do.  He honored His own words.
-          Set up new boundaries to protect against new threats.

Observations:  _________________________________________________

-          The Father did not yell or scream.
-          The Father did not get upset.
-          The Father did not negotiate.
-          The Father did not repeat Himself.
-          The Father did not compromise His initial positions.

-          Knowing what the consequences would be, the children chose to disobey.
-          The children hid from the Father – guilt often leads to avoidance.
-          The children blamed someone else.
-          Finally, the children submitted, so no further punishment was necessary.

Applications I can make to my own life:  _____________________________
·         I need to set up boundaries for my children.
·         I must meet all of my childrens' needs, and clear communication is one of their needs.
·         I must give clear instructions with consequences.  
 “If you choose to obey, then you choose this set of consequences.
If you choose to disobey, then you choose this other set of consequences.”

·         I must assign clear responsibilities to my children.  If I am to assign responsibilities to them, then I must also give clear instruction and make certain that they are capable of meeting those responsibilities.  This sets them up both for success, and my praise for a job well done to reinforce these behaviors.

Now, when I follow God’s example, I am training my children to obey me, respect authority, and ultimately, I am preparing my children to obey God, too.  Further, I am disciplining myself to be a godly parent.

Thank you, Lord, for Your example.  Please help me to live that example for my children.