We parents, and I assume that most of you reading this are parents, tend to think of the Bible as a pro-parent book. We like to emphasize the passages about honoring parents, respecting elders and obeying those in authority. All of those concepts are important in the Bible, but that is not the whole story. The Bible also talks (a lot) about the responsibilities and concerns that parents are to show to their children.
My prejudice is that parenting is the most important job that most of us will ever do. In fact, I have always rejected the idea that I ever “baby sit” my own children. I never baby sit. I parent. The Bible provides a lot of help for parents, if we want to listen to God’s word, and if we want to be serious about our parenting.
Biblical suggestions for parents:
- Parents are not to provoke their children (Ep. 6.4). Sometimes we do it in anger, sometimes because we are not thinking, but it is never appropriate to purposely agitate or aggravate your children. Parents are to be positive and uplifting for their kids.
- Parents are to teach and train their children (Ep. 6.4). Do not fall into the trap of believing that you send your children to school for education. You are your child’s primary teacher in all things.
- Parents should care for the needs of their children (2 Corinthians 12.14). Do not forget your responsibility to feed and clothe your children, as well as provide for their health, their well-being, their future and more. Being a parent never ends.
- Parents love their children without condition. Remember that Mary, Jesus’ mother followed him around everywhere. At times it had to be uncomfortable, embarrassing, or even dangerous. But even when he was executed as a criminal Mary stood by loving him. We need to love our children even when they make bad choices and disappoint us, just like Mary.
- Parents must be responsible for the Christian nurture, education and discipleship of their children (Deuteronomy 6.7). We must never buy the lie that children should choose for themselves. We must teach our children to follow God by word and example. We must accompany them to worship. We must encourage them to participate in church youth groups and Sunday school classes.
This list could go on indefinitely. We will stop here, however, with an admonition to commit yourself and your children to the Lord. It does not matter how old or young they are, your children need to have a strong relationship with you and with Jesus. Pray for them daily. Share your love regularly. Never forget your most important task.