These are my notes from the class that I started teaching at the Contact Church of Christ last Sunday morning:
*Every Christian parent wants to raise godly children. Of course, we want them to succeed in every area of life, but we are especially concerned about their spiritual development.
*I was asked to teach a class about biblical parenting for several reasons:
1. We all need help, and the Bible provides a great deal of wisdom in helping us to raise our children.
2. I have a little experience in raising our son.
3. I don't have so much experience that I have given up on raising children.
*I heard about a preacher who conducted seminars on parenting. At first, he had no children of his own. His seminars were called How to Raise Children. Then he and his wife had children. His seminars were called A Few Principles for Raising Children. By the time his children were teenagers, his seminars were called A Few Hopefully Helpful Hints for Raising Children by a Fellow Struggler. I am teaching this class fully aware that I have much to learn, and that we can help each other as we look to God's Word for guidance.
*The first principle for raising godly children that we will explore is peace. Proverbs 17:1 states the principle in these words: "Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife" (NIV). In other words, peace in a family is far more important than wealth or poverty. It is better to live in a peaceful poor family than in a strifeful rich family.
*A child who lives in a violent or hostile home finds himself damaged. He or she is always walking on eggshells, afraid of setting off another explosion. The child becomes timid and easy to intimidate, or he becomes a violent bully. In either case, the child grows up damaged relationally, unable to relate to people in the healthiest way.
*Without a peaceful home, the child will likely leave at age 18 with minimal contact with his or her parents.
*A peaceful home is founded on a husband and wife who love and respect each other. It forms a sense of security in a child when he sees his mom and dad in such a relationship with each other.
*If you are divorced, treat your ex-spouse with consideration and respect. Try to reconcile and re-marry if possible. If not, at least speak about your ex-spouse with respect in front of your children.
*If you and the other parent are not married but are living together, either get married or move out. Your children need the stability of a married father and mother. If you don't love each other enough to get married, don't pretend to be married. Don't have a sexual relationship outside of marriage. It is inherently unstable.
*If you are married, don't get into heated arguments in front of your children. They don't have the emotional maturity to handle seeing parents yelling and insulting each other. Don't sulk. Do not hit or threaten to harm each other in any way. Don't make your children live in fear.
*Work through conflict in a calm manner. If your emotions are getting to you, take a time-out or go somewhere to discuss it privately.
*When you make a mistake or sin, apologize to your spouse and children. Ask for forgiveness and do everything possible to change for the better. Humility, confession, and repentance build peaceful homes.
*Our children are going to face hard times in their lives. It's inevitable. We all face hard times. But when they look back at their childhoods, we would like for them to remember growing up fondly. These should be the good old days for our children...the years of peace, security, and love that will help them and strengthen them for the future.