Being a parent is a tough job. And in today’s broken society, it sometimes seems that there are 1,001 forces working against you.
But parenting is not only tough—it’s vital. It’s the highest of callings, and it’s important that you succeed in raising your children to follow the Lord as adults.
So how are you to win in this endeavor?
1. Encourage more than you correct.
Children are desperate for praise. When they’re little, you hear it in their constant demands, “Daddy, watch this!” “Mommy, look at me!” But the desire for affirmation doesn’t diminish as they grow—even if they learn how to mask it better.
If you’re like me, it’s easier to see the need to correct than an opportunity to praise. That’s why we must be intentional in looking for and praising positive character development.
2. Impart eternal truths.
Beyond teaching your third-grader to put his socks in the hamper instead of on the floor or your eighth-grader to dress appropriately, you have to transfer the eternal truths of God’s Word into the hearts of your children. Beyond setting boundaries for your family, you must teach your teenagers the biblical principles behind those boundaries.
Obedience is commanded, but somewhere along the line, your children need to understand and embrace the truth behind your instructions. And it is your job to teach them. Deuteronomy 6 and Ephesians 6 both instruct parents to impart God’s Word as they nurture their children.
3. Pray faithfully and specifically.
No parent is perfect, and all of us fail from time to time. But regardless of what you don’t know or can’t do, there is one thing every Christian parent can and must do for their child—pray.
I’m not suggesting a “Lord, bless my child” kind of prayer—but praying specifically and fervently for the daily needs your child faces. Pray for his salvation, her friendships, his protection, her character development. As someone wisely said, “When we work we work, but when we pray God works.” There is no task for which this is more true than in shepherding the hearts of our children.
All three of these areas—and several more—are discussed at length in my new book Making Home Work. Additionally, for those who order the book this week (by December 11), there are bonus resources to help you encourage your child and teach eternal truths—78 printable lunchbox cards to give your child a surprise note of encouragement and a 31-day guide to beginning family devotions—both free when you order the book. The book itself contains a ten-point prayer list with supporting Scripture verses for praying effectively for your children.
Yes, our society is broken and raises many obstacles in raising godly children. But remember, “greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4)!