As the dad of two boys, I believe that we need to take more responsibility with how we raise our kids. We know that the Bible says that our kids are arrows. It is our job to shape them and sharpen them so that when we release them into the world, they pierce the kingdom of darkness with the light of the gospel.
Proverbs 22:6 tells us:
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
I do not believe that the sole purpose of parenting is to raise your kids to go to college, get a degree, get a career, get married, buy a house, and have kids. Pushing our kids to pursue the American Dream rather than pursuing Jesus will be damaging in the long run. What is important to us will become evident, even magnified, as our kids grow older. You reproduce what you are.
I believe the best way to parent kids is by coaching.
Don’t think football or basketball. Think discipleship.
God has called you to parent your children. Too many families in our culture today lack leadership in the home. Dad, it is time to step it up.
God created your kids uniquely. You will disciple them efficiently when you understand the way that they learn best. Your kids need to be stretched. Put them in uncomfortable situations and teach them to figure things out. They need to learn how to think on their own. Let them get creative and try to work things out. Let them make mistakes and let them learn from their mistakes. Let them know that you are always there to lead and guide them.
The goal here is to help your child to grow. As they progress in life, you are teaching them how to live life, but you are also teaching them everything with a gospel-centered focus.
The Bible is our standard. As we are growing to meet the standard set by the Bible, we teach our kids to rise to meet the standard set by the Bible. We do not want to lower the standard.
Help your kids find out what God wants them to do and help them to see the importance of accomplishing that. You are there to come alongside. Help your kids understand that the Holy Spirit will lead and guide them.
Your kids need to know that you trust them and believe in them. That is very important. If they know that their dad believes in them, they will feel like they can accomplish anything.
When your kids fail, help them to reflect on the mistake they made and help them figure out how not to make the same mistake next time. Celebrate wins. Things that are celebrated will be reciprocated.
Kids learn fast. I want my kids to learn and grow, but not at the cost of them running away from Jesus. I want to use my parenting to point my kids to Jesus.
God still operates in spite of our methods but we want to be the vehicle that he uses to train up our kids well. I believe that when it is time to release our arrows, we can present them shaped and sharpened well enough that they pursue Jesus, and make a dent in the kingdom of darkness.
I pray that God will draw my boys to salvation early and the Holy Spirit will conform them to Christ’s image.
Do you pray for your children? What do you pray for them?
Jimmy Proulx is pastor of FaithPoint Community Church. He planted FaithPoint in 2011 in Warner Robins, GA. He has been married for thirteen years to his wonderful wife, Kristi. They have two awesome boys, Bryson, 5, and Luke, 3. They live in Byron, GA. Jimmy loves books and coffee—not in any specific order! Follow him on Twitter at @jimmyproulx.