This should really be titled “about my: parenting.” I just want to share here some things I’ve learned in the past ten years of being a parent, and I’ll probably add to this as my kids grow, and as I also grow and mature. This advice is kind of ‘take it or leave it’ stuff, but my intention here is just to make a list of things I’ve learned that tells you a little about where my stand is on parenting. So here it goes:
1. Everything done in love: I used to be a yelling parent. And that means over everything, if I had to say something twice. Until I read a verse a few years ago in Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you before-hand, just in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” I have read this verse many times before. But what struck me in that moment was how this ‘outbursts of wrath’ is set in the middle of all these other really ‘horrible’ sins. And it was the right moment to convict me, and I asked God to help me overcome my screaming and yelling, and He has and continues to work on this in me. So even though I’ve read over and again in good books like “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” and “Standing on the Promises” that we are supposed to do even our discipline of children in love, it took this verse among some other things to awaken my understanding of this absolutely foundational parenting advice.
2. Read to your children! Every day, from the Bible, Christian books, good classics, the Bible, fiction the whole family can enjoy, parables, moral stories, more Bible, biographies, make it a habit. When the family reads together, then you have things to talk about together. It deepens the relationships, is more than just passing the time together, and grows a desire in your kids. Also, notice I emphasized the Bible: we’ve been growing in how much our kids will listen to – starting from just a single verse, to now they will sit for 2-3 chapters. But go at their pace. If they can only sit for 5 minutes right now, do that. Don’t make it a punishment. Make it a privilege that the family gets to read together.
3. Turn the TV off: please. I know it sounds like a huge sacrifice. I know they are quiet and not destroying anything or arguing with you when the tv has them occupied. But that is no way to raise your children. I’m not saying you can’t have a television, that you can’t ever watch it. And you don’t have to be as much of a fanatic as myself to benefit from some silence from the tube. But there are so many other things to do, so much better investments of your time and theirs. Take up a hobby together! Play a board game! Build a tent out of blankets instead with them. Go kick a soccer ball. Just try it, I promise it won’t kill you and you will still get to relax at some point of the day. Or, just maybe, you’ll discover relaxing and having fun while you are actually doing something with your children.
okay, I have to stop for now. I’ll be sure to share in a post whenever I add to this list. And I welcome your input as well.