David Powlison has explained sanctification as a yo-yo going upstairs. I love this analogy. The yo-yo is going up, but sometimes you are being flung down. The last few weeks my parenting has been playing a little “walk the dog.”
Hoping to start the ascent up the string, I’m writing this post to myself. Feel free to peek into the window of my thoughts, and if you see a fire, please comment!
Reminders to Self:
1. Don’t forget to take the long view. I want to be a biblical parent not a pragmatic parent. Outward results are not primary, although they are fruit and should be expected in increasing measure.
Public behavior and home behavior are working toward the same end. Discipline is for the good of the child and the glory of God, not for the praise of man.
Trust that patient, consistent discipline in accordance with the scriptures will bear lasting fruit. A method that “works” is a non-sign of change.
2. People are more important than things. This was my dad’s mantra. How fitting to every stage of life it has proved to be.
I clean my house for people to use it. It is not a museum, it is a tool for the people who I love and serve with it.
Value is not defined by dollar amounts. “life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12 ) The 1000 thread-count sheets are of no value compared to the little hands that colored them with purple sharpie.
3. Children first obey their Creator by obeying their parents.
Household rules should keep in mind the chief end of man: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
In order for our kids not to be salvation minimalists, our household should not be governed by a list of don’ts.
My kids must see me obey the same authority. I must repent and believe the same gospel I teach.
4. “Unbelief squashes; faith teaches.” from “Future Men”Doug Wilson
My personal adapted applications from his book:
A little girl puts on lipstick and mascara then proudly announces, “Look! I’m the Mommy!” Unbelief sees a mess and expensive make-up gone to waste. Faith sees a little girl trying on femininity, encourages that impulse, and teaches how to practice it rightly.
A kid is caught sneaking a tv show she was told was off-limits. Unbelief is offended and afraid. Faith teaches that it is by grace she has been caught, by grace she feels her guilty conscience, and by grace she has been forgiven.
5. Know each child’s heart and sin tendency and apply the scriptures with precision. Do not exasperate a contrite heart.
Pray particularly for and with each child. Encourage them by pointing out the specific workings of the Holy Spirit as you see change and answers to prayer.
Avoid comparing children to each other. Christ is the standard, not the compliant child in the family. Everyone falls short.
6. Set children up to succeed.
Feed them healthy food, give them a predictable routine, know when to shake it up, and put everyone to bed on time (that means me too), prepare them for outings, teach them the expectations. Most of all, position them to behold their Savior.
I really like this post. You have challenged me. Other than the Word, where do you go for Biblical based parenting guidance?
Thanks! Good question. I couldn’t point to any one particular source. We have a great church body and friends who have been very helpful to watch up-close and learn from. As far as resources, I think I’ve benefited most from “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” by Ted Tripp, “Loving the Little Years” by Rachael Jankovich (probably my favorite), http://www.feminagirls.com is a blog that I love to read, anything by Doug or Nancy Wilson, I’ve been to a Paul Tripp (Ted’s brother) parenting conference which I think is available on dvd, Joel Beeke has written some helpful things for family worship, and really I apply most anything I’m learning about the gospel to my kids ’cause they’re my closest neighbor right now 🙂