“Just wait until you have children, then you will understand!” Most parents try to raise their kids the right way; to love and protect them from danger and to prepare them for life. They also know children have no clue what it is like to be parents. Then it happens, our children become parents and we become grandparents. Now we can sit back and smile as we watch our sons and daughters deal with their own children. Not that we want them to struggle, but now they understand fatherhood or motherhood is hard work. Perhaps this is a little poetic justice for all those parents who heard, “I am never going to treat my kids they way you treat me.”
Children sometimes question their parents’ intellect, wisdom, and motives when they don’t get what they want. They may even believe they have better answers and will never do to their children what their parents do to them. But then they become parents and they realize the easy answers are gone. So maybe dad and mom were not so dumb and out of touch after all.
One of the scariest thoughts for children is that they may grow up to become like their parents. Fox News recently reported a poll taken by Daily Mail that said children become their parents at age thirty-two. I do not know about a specific age, but one reason given is that by thirty-two most people have children. It is simply easier to make sense of
your parents when you have children of your own.
When I told my boys “I don’t care if everyone else is doing it, you are not everyone else” I thought back to my parents telling me the same. Remember how you hated it when your parents said, “Because I said so, that’s why.” Yes, I used that one, too.
The point is parents have some influence on their children and it may be more than they think at the time. (2 Tim. 1:5) While boys and girls may gripe while growing up, there is a good chance they will follow much of your example when they raise kids. They will most likely teach their children many of the same principles you taught them. Is that what you want? Do you want your children to be like you when they raise your grandchildren?
As a general rule, what you teach your children will stay with them for life. (Prov. 22:6) Make sure you teach them to respect God and the Bible. Help them form a godly faith by how you live and this will give them a good base to build upon.
Most parents start out at about the same place; before their first pregnancy confidence is high. Once you find out a little one is on the way some concerns usually follow. As birth approaches the nerves of soon-to-be parents often heighten and you wonder “Am I ready for this?”
New parents soon find out just how hard it is to raise kids. How soon? Like the first time their newborn gets sick and keeps them up for a few nights. This is also about the time when they realize they do not have all the answers. But that is fine because no one has all the answers, and besides good parents are works in progress. You grow as your children grow and you learn as they learn. When child number two or three gets sick and cries all night, you will know better how to handle them and yourself. I am not saying it is easier, but you have been there before and you are better prepared.
I believe God made us with a natural longing to parent our children well. (Prov. 1:8-9) Sadly, Satan is working against God’s natural order of love and we see this played out by parents every day. Instead of leading their children to God they teach them to ignore worship and service. Who do you think teaches our young people to dress revealingly and to drink alcohol? Dad and mom are the ones. Lying and cheating are what they often see in their parents. So no wonder they do the same. But even many of these parents want to do right by their children; unfortunately they have lost God’s way.
Raising children comes with all the emotions and feelings you can imagine. There are moments of great joy and feelings of success when your kids do right. Like the time when they do well in school or when they are honest when it is inconvenient. You might start to think “I am doing something right”, and then they do as all kids do; they let you know you are not doing as good as you might think. Then you begin to wonder “Am I doing anything right?” Of course you are, but that is just the way we parents think sometimes.
If you want to raise your children well, then do as all godly parents do and put God first in your life. Paul said bring your children up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4) That means you love them like God loves you, teach them what God teaches you, and discipline them as God disciplines you. The Bible has all we need to be great parents. This does not mean every child raised by godly parents will turn out faithful, because we all make our own choices when we grow up. It does mean we give our children the best chance to learn about God and to grow up wanting to serve Him. If you have godly parents perhaps you should want to grow up to be like them, at least in some ways.