These are my notes for my parenting class this coming Sunday at the Contact Church of Christ:
*In previous weeks, we have looked at the importance of having peaceful homes, spending time with our children, teaching biblical truth to our children, and being good examples to our children. In this lesson, we will discuss helping our children figure out who God made them to be. We will try to help our children find their sense of esteem or worth by loving them as God made them.
*For our children to develop into godly men and women, they need to keep a sense of passion and ambition about life. They need to retain the ability to appreciate and enjoy the life that God has given them.
*The Bible says, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart" (Colossians 3:21, NASB). We do not want to raise children who have lost heart. We want to enable them to live life with passion, love, and courage.
*In order to do that, we must avoid creating an environment in which our children feel like they can never live up to our expectations.
*Tommy Nelson wrote, "A child needs to know that he is loved and accepted for exactly who he is. This is how he gains a proper understanding of who God has made him to be" (The 12 Essentials of Godly Success, p.184).
*Our children are not likely to be just like us. We can't expect them to be our carbon copies. I was a compliant and shy child. My son is an assertive and self-confident child. I liked to draw pictures. He could wrestle all day long. Even when we do not fully understand them, we must appreciate them for who they are. In one episode of King of the Hill, Bobby Hill wanted to play soccer, while his father opposed the idea. An exasperated Bobby said to his father, "You hate everything you don't understand!" His father replied, "I don't hate you, Bobby." We must value our children's differences.
*Our children are not going to be like their own brothers and sisters. One child may prefer music. Another may love sports. Yet another may be drawn to academics. We must value each child's differences.
*Of course, this does not mean that we should value their sinful choices. Angry outbursts, disrespectful language, sexual immorality, drug and alcohol abuse, and other sins should be confronted. But we must continue to respect their value in God's eyes. We must remember that their sins cannot define them in our opinion, just as our sins do not define us. With love, let's help them overcome.
*The Bible says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6, NASB).
*Tommy Nelson says about that verse, "Help your children see themselves as God sees them by celebrating who they are...A major aspect of this verse is often misinterpreted. Some take it to mean that you need to teach your children the right thing, and when they grow older, they will do it. This verse means much more than that. We need to raise up a child in his particular bent, being sensitive to his particular uniqueness. The verse literally says, 'Raise up a child in his way'" (p.185).
*Let's celebrate the uniqueness of each of our children. Tell each child, "I love how God made you. I'm proud to be your parent. I thank God that he brought you into my life." God made them especially for us. Let's appreciate our gifts from heaven for who they are, and help them become everything they can be for God's glory.