Parenting God’s Way
What is the solution to not provoking our children? It is to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Our Heavenly Father is a lover and an encourager. So, if our children are becoming resentful and discouraged as the result of our words and actions, we are not bringing them up His way. But if parents do it God’s way, their children will feel very loved and immensely encouraged.
The Scriptures teach the job of parents is to “nourish” their children. (Ephesians 6:4) This means parents are expected to provide the things their children need to grow and be healthy. And since children are spiritual and emotional beings, their needs are not only physical. As important as their physical needs are, it is inadequate to focus only on making sure they have food to eat, clothes to wear, and a bed to sleep in.
While children need to feel physically safe, every child also needs to feel emotionally secure and spiritually significant, as well. Now, God intends the relationship parents have with their children to be the primary conduit by which these other needs get met. Children with parents who neglect their need for emotional security and spiritual significance will require a miracle of grace to grow normally and function healthily.
Just like a plant needs a certain type of soil to flourish, children grow best when their parents give them love, limits, and latitude. All children should get up each day feeling loved unconditionally, knowing that even when Mom and Dad are displeased with their behavior, their commitment to them is unwavering. All children should get up every day, knowing their parents will protect them and teach them self-control by establishing and lovingly enforcing appropriate limits for their good. And all children should get up every day, knowing their parents will give them enough latitude to be themselves, unique and different, as they discover and fulfill their special purpose in God’s wonderful plan for their family and the world. Giving children reasonable latitude, based on their maturity and disposition, equips them to self-direct and to govern themselves later in life, when their parents won’t be around.
Admittedly, parenting is difficult. But God’s grace is sufficient. Parents can place their faith in Him and daily allow His love, His strength, and His wisdom to work in them. And when they miss it, as they may do from time to time, know His super-abundant grace will cause all things to work together for the good of those who love Him.
I pray for all parents, and all children, that they may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, and that they may know experientially the love of God that passes knowledge so that they may be filled with the fulness of God.