May 29, 2008

Parents and Children (1)

Proverbs 22:1-6

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training … of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4


In his book Family First, Dr. Phil McGraw writes, “The best way to be a good father to your children is to be a good husband to your wife.” He might have said the same thing about wives: “The best way to be a good mother to your children is to be a good wife to your husband.” Children deserve no less. As parents, we owe it to our children to provide them with a home where husband and wife love and respect each other. In the words of someone else, “Home should be the place children can’t wait to get to.”

Children need to feel safe, accepted, and encouraged at home. Sometimes parents exasperate their children and deflate their youthful enthusiasm. Some children live in constant fear of being put down or criticized. Some of us criticize our children for things we ourselves are guilty of. When our children were small, I used to get on them for spilling things, until one day I spilled a whole glass of milk over myself. It was the last time I ever mentioned spilling again.

Christian parents, of course, go beyond encouragement to train and instruct their children in the Lord. We owe it to our children to help them develop a close and personal relationship with the Lord. Of course, a powerful way to do that is to let your children see your own close connection with Jesus.

Father in heaven, thank you for the gift of children. Give us the wisdom to be the kind of parents you ask us to be, and help us to teach our children about you. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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