You can’t study Proverbs without reading the many passages on parenting. Children are gifts from God and parenting is a high calling. We have the opportunity to impart to the next generation skills to help them succeed and a knowledge and love for God that will be passed for generations to come. In Proverbs, we read that godly parenting involves teaching, timing, and truth.
The Teaching Factor
Proverbs 1:8 says, “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.” It is the role and responsibility of a father and mother to instruct, educate, and train up a child. The bible does not say raise up a child, but train up a child! “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Prov. 13:24). To not train and discipline your child is a form of child abuse. Say and show affection often. Never miss the opportunity to tell your kids you love them. But, also show that love through disciplining them and training them. The “ABCs of Discipline” are a few ways we can train our kids. A – Have authority over their attitude and actions (Eph. 6:1). The family is not a democracy. B – Boundaries for their behavior. Set clear guidelines for your kids to protect them, but also that give them a little freedom. C – Consequences with consistency. Discuss expectations and consequences and keep your word. Obedience is not optional. Ultimately, remember that parenting is not about rules, but relationships. John McDowell said, “Rules without relationships lead to rebellion.”
The Timing Factor
The time for training children is when they are young. A child’s basic values and behavior systems are set by age 6. Proverbs 19:18 says, “Chasten your son while there is hope,” and Proverbs 13:24 says, “He who loves him disciplines him promptly.” Dr. James Dobson says parents must learn discipline is not something you do to a child but for a child. Love your children too much to allow them to act out destructive patterns of behavior. The world views spanking as archaic or barbaric, but children have not changed. God knows more about the heart of a child than the experts! We do not evaluate Scripture through the eyes of the culture, but we evaluate the culture through the lens of Scripture. The bible is clear that there are two forms of discipline. “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” (Prov. 29:15). Spanking can be the only way to get through to a young child. However, a verbal reprimand almost always works better as a child gets older. The rod of correction is not advocating child abuse! “Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul” (Prov. 29:17). The goal is not just good kids, but godly kids.
The Truth Factor
“… And when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). The verdict is out on all of us. None of us have crossed the finish line yet. Proverbs 23:14 says, “You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell.” Children can come to know Christ at a young age. Jonathan Edwards was saved at age 8. Charles Spurgeon was saved at age 12. 90% of all missionaries are saved before age 11. The ultimate goal in parenting is that your kids have a loving relationship with their Creator. Our children are not really ours at all. They are on loan from God. They are gifts from God and will return to Him one day. The Bible is the owner’s manual. We do not want to help them gain the whole world and lose their soul. What is better? Teaching them to have a bigger house and more expensive car? Or, a better relationship with God, a prayer life, knowledge of God’s word, and a love for the church and the things of God? The greatest need of the children born into our family is to be born again into God’s family.
Children are often viewed in the world as an inconvenience. But, what the world sees as a burden, God sees as a blessing! Parenting is not just a job, but a joy! It’s an opportunity to share Christ with generations to come.