To Rear a Child

“Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept. Line upon line, line upon line, here a little there a little.”

— Isaiah 28:9-10

If you’re a parent or hope to be one someday, then you’ve probably already considered how you’ll raise your children. Allow me, if you would, to put my oar in the water and give you a few thoughts about godly parenting.

When we first look at our newborn children, we are full of hopes and dreams for them and their future. To guide our children toward reaching their potential, we can rely on promises and principles from God’s Word. Biblical parenting boils down to two main things: We must train our children in God’s Word and discipline them according to God’s principles.

“Training our children” means teaching them line by line, precept by precept, a little bit here, a little bit there about the things of God. A father must fulfill his role as spiritual head of his household, teaching his family the things of God: “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). This includes teaching the Ten Commandments, the gospel of Christ, the importance of memorizing Scripture, and how to pray. And because our lives speak louder than our words, we must teach by both precept and example.

Disciplining our children must be done in love, not anger. We shouldn’t raise our voices. We should listen to our children and refrain from disciplining them until we hear all the facts. We should set explicit and reasonable boundaries, enforce them consistently, and make it clear that Mom and Dad will always have the final say. We should encourage good behavior by offering positive rewards. A father once paid his son to read certain books and write book reports on them. When in college, the son often expressed gratitude to his father, because his knowledge of those books put him far ahead of his classmates. This father’s initiative helped the son reach his potential.

Parenting is tough but worth every effort we make. As we train our children in God’s ways, we can feel confident that our children will reach their full, God-given potential. Today, pray for your children. Ask God to help them grow in Him. And ask Him to give you the wisdom you need to train them in the way they should go.

“You cannot change your ancestors, but you can
do something about your descendants.”