“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”
Basic Parenting 101. God’s instruction manual for parenting is only one verse long. Everything we need to know about parenting is tucked away inside two little sentences.
Parenting isn’t about exerting authority, it’s about discipleship. Of course we can lord over our children and prove how powerful we are over them, but that’s a given. They’re smaller and dumber than we are and have absolutely no resources of their own. Treating them harshly because they can’t read our minds, think like we do, and contribute better doesn’t make any sense. They need to be shown and taught these things - and sometimes multiple times. That’s how God parents me. Of course he’s bigger, stronger, and smarter than I am. But he doesn’t need to prove it by how he treats me though; it’s a given fact.
Jesus said, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets (Matthew 7:12).” I want God to be full of grace, mercy, and compassion towards me (as he is described in Psalm 103:8) because of how weak I am compared to him. If I appreciate being treated this way by HIM, I should treat the ones I have authority over the very same way. Do unto others...
God forgives me when I repent and doesn’t require me to relive it ever again. When my children have asked forgiveness for something, I need to forgive and forget. They don’t need layers of punishment to coincide with when I drag it up again. They need a fresh start because I do too. Sometimes multiple fresh starts in one day are required!
Bring them up with the discipline... There’s a huge difference between discipline and punishment. According to the way God parents, punishment is only reserved for those who refuse the discipline. (Romans 2:5) It’s not a parents job to go straight to a punishment for every infraction. For instance, if someone has left their toys out, asking them to pick up after themselves is proper discipline. But a child who refuses the discipline will then need a little spanking or a privilege taken away (punishment).
My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you.
Correcting our children is our job. Teaching them how to live correctly in comparison to God’s Word is the discipline they need. And hooray for those who simply accept discipline when it comes!
... And instruction that comes from the Lord... Teaching our kids to obey and follow Jesus is the best parenting tool available on the whole planet. They will obey us because in doing so they are obeying God. (Ephesians 6:1)
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
Psalm 127:3 tells us that children are a gift and a reward from the Lord. We instinctively take care of precious gifts. The peal necklace my dad bought my mom years ago still lives in a velvet bag when she’s not wearing it because that’s how you treat a pearl necklace. How much more so should I treat my children, little humans who are going to grow up and affect other humans, properly?
Thank you so much for Abigail, Josiah, Gracie, and Benjamin. I love them so much. I love who they are becoming because your Word is true. Disciplining them is the best way to parent. Each one of them has been a joy and a privilege to parent because your way of parenting works. We don’t struggle with the common issues of some of our counterparts because our kids know YOU for themselves. And we have instructed them from the beginning as you so have instructed us. They accept discipline, and that makes my heart so glad. I love you and thank you so much that trusting you and parenting them YOUR way really has worked and has brought us so much joy! And I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.