Today it is Gramma day. I have four of my 28 grandchildren with me, and I confess they are a handful. I so remember the stressful days I had when I was raising my children, worrying about everything – things the experts said would work, and then seeing the many things I failed at doing. When it comes to raising children there is no prescription that will work for everyone. However, there is instruction that can help guide parents into giving their children the things they need:
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with lovingkindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 (AMP)
There is not a cure all for everything that you will encounter with your children, but the above scripture is certainly is a plumb line you need to keep in mind. While we want to keep our children from the evils of this world and are willing to do so by any means necessary (fear, intimidation, etc), to provoke them is not the way to do it. I love how the Amplified makes it so clear, “do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive”– if I want to be perfectly honest – I have been guilty of some of this. And what is even more strange is when I see my children bordering on doing things like this to my grandchildren, I am quick to reprimand them!(How quickly we forget!)
This verse goes on to say that “showing favoritism or indifference” is a NO-NO! Have you ever said things like, “why can’t you get good grades like your sister”? These kinds of remarks are so damaging, both to the well-being of the one you are talking to, and also in regards sibling relationships.
Finally, this verse speaks to bringing them up “tenderly, with lovingkindness”. How easy it is in our intense living and working environments to take our frustrations out on the children -being impatient with them – tearing them down, rather than building them up. Then we want to give them what the Word says, when we clearly have forgotten this verse:
The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Jeremiah 31:3 (KJV)
While instruction alone is no guarantee that every child will grow up well adjusted, emotionally secure, and walking in faith; I have found that when we do the best that we can, and trust God with the rest- He has a way of bringing all HIs children unto Him – parents and children!!