2) God’s design is that a family is to be a learning center for life.
Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
We observe here that parents, more specifically fathers, are to provide training (discipline) and instruction to their kids.
We learn a lot of things in our families.There are three things you won’t leave home without: Relationships, Character and Values.These three things should be taught or caught at home through the parents’ example.
When training children we want to take them through three stages:
Stage 1: Parent Control
That is why the one of the very first commands we see in the Bible addressed to children is
Ephesians 6:1, ‘Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.’
At this stage of a child’s growth, parents are to teach their children to distinguish right from wrong.This teaching is facilitated through the childÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s learning process of obedience to his/her parents.
Stage 2: Self Control
Proverbs 22:6 says, ‘“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.’
This verse isn’t saying that when children grow older training and discipline should stop.It is saying that more of the training and discipline should be focused during the stage when children don’t know right from wrong and that is when they’re still young.That is why parents should be modeling the character traits they are teaching their children.We should walk our talk.
But there comes a stage in a child’s life when he/she should be trusted to make decisions on his/her own.But this of course is with the premise that he/she has earned that trust by learning to be responsible which should, of course, be a product of the parent’s training of the child at an earlier age.
Stage 3: God’s control
This is when the child has come to a point in his/her life where he/she decides to accept Christ as his/her personal Savior and Lord and commit to follow Christ.Again, it doesn’t mean that when a child chooses this parents should stop training and teaching the child.I believe teaching never stops, but the method changes as the child grows older.At this stage, parents need to learn to entrust their children to God, again with the premise that they have taught their children when they were young and have raised them up in the fear of God.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”
I’ve heard some parents say, “I’m not going to impose my spiritual values on my kids. I’m going to let them decide for themselves.” Well, this really sounds good and democratic. But if we’ll evaluate this statement based on what God is saying in the verses above, during the parent control stage, it is our responsibility as parents to, first, live out and practice God’s ways and second, teach them diligently to our children.
HOW DO WE APPLY THIS PRINCIPLE AT HOME?
COMMIT OUR FAMILIES TO GOD. We must be serious about putting Him first in our families by going to church together and letting our children learn the habit of prioritizing God on a weekly basis. We must schedule Bible reading, study or devotions as a family. We must find ways to teach the Bible to kids so as not to bore them. Let’s be creative!