In our last post, we talked about setting objectives for your children. You, as a parent, ought to know what you want from your children, and what goals and purposes you have for them. They ought to know this as well. The ultimate goal of parenting is the goal of every single person: to glorify God in everything we do. Everything we want for our children should be put under that ultimate goal of our children magnifying God in their lives. Let me give a few practical examples of what that would look like.
I want my children to eat what is set before them. Why? First, because what we give them is good for them. We want them to make good habits in eating good food. Why? So they might be healthy, and ready to serve God with their lives. Second, because not eating their food is a waste. Proverbs 12:27 says: “The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.” Wasting food is showing ingratitude, while eating all their food shows gratitude. Showing thanks to parents and God is a way to glorify God. They will have things in their lives that they will need to thank God for (1 Thess. 5:18), so we train them at mealtimes. Third, eating everything, even things they don’t like, is a good discipline. If my children are picky, they will have a harder time when they cannot get the foods they “like.” Proverbs 21:17 says: “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.” The person who has a particular taste for certain foods will be a poor man, and one who is never satisfied. If my children learn to enjoy (or at least eat) foods they don’t prefer, I am teaching them to use their money and resources on what’s important. I want my children to learn the important things in life, and we can do that even at the supper table.
I want my children to get along with each other. Why? First, because God commands that we would be people of peace. Romans 12:18 says: “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” I want my children to learn to obey God from early on. The impetus for their getting along cannot be: “Because that’s annoying.” It must be “Because God wants this from you.” Second, because being a person of peace reflects God. Romans 14:19 is a great verse to put in your home: “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace.” God is a God of peace, and our getting along with others reflects His peace. Third, because if they will learn to get along with others in the home, they will learn to get along with others when they are adults. Someday those in conflict with them won’t be a pesky sister, but a neighbor, a co-worker, or a stranger in the grocery store. We have such a problem today with adults who fight with one another because they never learned to do so when they were children. They reflect Satan’s views, and God calls to us to be people of peace.
I want my children to do chores. Why? Not because they can clean better than Amy or I can. Sometimes it is easier to do it ourselves. But we want our children to learn to be diligent, and to work hard. Proverbs 13:4 says, “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” God commanded the Israelites to work six days and rest the seventh, so we want our children to be hard workers. This will help them be good employees- ones who will have a good testimony and be able to witness for Jesus Christ.
Satan attacks our children in subtle ways. We must not assume that little things in our children’s lives do not matter. Little habits when they are young turn into lifestyles and character as they grow older. The greatest influence we have on our children is when they are young, and we need to have a battle plan to combat Satan’s plans for them. Do you have objectives for your children? Are you working a plan to get them to your goals for them?