1030 W.A. Barr Road Mount Shasta, CA 96067
values for parents to live by
by Dr. Paul A. Kienel, Founder and President Emeritus Association of Christian Schools International
Speaking of children, the Psalmist David said, ". . .blessed is the man that hath his quiver full of them. . ." (Psalm 127:5). David also said, "Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord" (Psalm 127:3). In other words, children are God-given treasures to be loved and cherished by their parents. If you are like me, nothing on earth compares in value to one's family. I find the older I get, the more treasured my family becomes.
Permit me to share some values that have been important to me in my thirty-five years of parenting.
Children need encouragement every day. Most children need twice as much encouragement as they need correction and reproof. Children, being children, need clear direction and sometimes firm discipline, but when children respond to discipline or when they do anything or say anything that is commendable, they need to hear words of support and commendation by loving parents and teachers. It is amazing how children remember encouraging words. In the not-too-distant future when you are a few years older than you are today, you might receive a "payday note" such as I received recently from our middle daughter, Colleen Kausrud, mother of two of our four grandchildren. She wrote:
Dad - I wish now when I was home I had realized how much you did and how much you cared about me. But I haven't forgotten. Even now you make me feel so good about myself and my family. Thanks for all the encouragement and support. It doesn't go unnoticed. - Colleen
2) Slowness to Anger:
Do not underestimate the power of parental praise and well-timed words of encouragement to your children.
The Roman philosopher Seneca said, "The greatest cure for anger is delay." Centuries before Seneca lived, Solomon wrote, "the discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression" (Proverbs 19:11). Anger is a natural emotional response to irritation, and children are specialists at irritation. Children will make their parents angry from time to time but Solomon says we are to control our emotions and not snap in anger at every irritation of our youngsters. But, as you well know, that is easier said than done.
Emerson wrote, "Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm." If life in your family is boring to you as a parent, you can be sure it will be even more boring to your children. It is up to parents to generate enthusiasm for day-to-day family activity and for special family events. If your heart and your mind are not focused on your family, there will be a corresponding lack of enthusiasm in your children.
4) Examples of Faith:
Your children need to hear you pray and demonstrate your need to trust God. They need to know that God is your Father in Heaven and that you depend on Him for guidance and for the basic provisions of life. Pray for miracles to happen in your family. Much of my own faith today hearkens back to bona-fide miracles which happened on a regular basis in my childhood. Nothing will do more to add spiritual stability to your children than your own solid faith in God and God's miraculous provisions for your family's needs.
We know that "God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7). God is our mentor and example for everything, including our generosity. Therefore, our own children should see our pleasure in our giving good gifts to them. If you have made your personal needs "priority one" and you are the major recipient of your family's material blessings, your children will develop a similar selfish pattern in their adult years. Balance, of course, is necessary when giving to your children, but it's God's pattern to lean forward with an open hand.
Parenting requires courage. Your household is no place for "wimpish" parents. Push-over parents will be pushed over. As long as mankind has existed there has been a child/parent test of wills, and loving parents (with God's help) must win! Fathers must take the lead. There is nothing more pathetic than a fully grown father who hasn't the inner fortitude to carry out his role as leader of his family. Mother-run families, created sometimes by default and sometimes by necessity, often have a down-range negative impact on children -- especially on boys. There is a normal God-given chain-of-command for families -- God, father, mother, and children. Many of us have survived outside the normal, pattern but it is not without difficulty. Pray for courage. Don't be at home without it!
7) Respect For Your Own Parents:
Your children are observing how you personally regard your own parents and your "in-law" parents -- which, of course, are your children's grandparents. As you get older your children will likely treat you much in the same manner as you treated your elders. Moses said, "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land..." (Exodus 20:12). We often quote that verse to children, but it applies to adults as well.
Raising your family to bring honor to Christ should be your priority mission in life. It has been for my wife Annie and me, and we have no regrets. It's simply God's way of doing things.
ASSOCIATION OF CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS INTERNATIONAL
PO Box 35097 . Colorado Springs, CO 80935-3509
© 1994, Association of Christian Schools International
reproduced here by permission of the Association of Christian Schools International.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).