Paul Carter – 10 Parenting Imperatives from the Book of Proverbs

Parenting is sacred, smelly, exciting, crushing, frustrating and expensive. It’s the most important thing that people ever do and to be completely honest with you, it scares the life out of me.

Who is sufficient for these things?

What should I be teaching my kids? What guidance should I be giving? Where do I go to learn how to raise and disciple sons and daughters of the King?

There is really only one place I can think of. The Book of Proverbs is presented as the counsel and wisdom of a royal couple to their son. “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8 ESV).

It is an entire God-breathed and Divinely authorized manual on how to raise little kings and queens.

It is well worth reading from start to finish. Until you get a chance to do that, here are 10 things that the King and Queen in Proverbs say to their child that you should say to yours.

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Geoffrey Kirkland – Instruction and Parenting

Parents all understand Paul’s command to “bring the children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6.4). But sometimes we grow weary in teaching the same old truths on many occasions again and again. Solomon could relate. He said “Hear my son your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching” (Prov 1:8). All through the Book of Proverbs, we receive many examples of Solomon pleading with his son to hear, listen to, heed, pay attention to, and receive His instruction. For instance, “my son, do not forget my teaching but let your heart keep my commandments” (Prov 3:1). This is a vital and unending part of parenting. As the children grow, we as parents must be deliberate in our teaching and instructing of their hearts. This not only takes place in the discipline room when they’re very small (with simple points of instruction) but as the child gets older, the physical spanking will decrease and the verbal instruction and biblical reasoning with the child will increase. When the child is so young that he cannot articulate or reason with you as the parent, discipline with the rod is the primary means of discipline when he has sinned. But as the child grows, verbal instruction, reasoning from the Scriptures, and helping the child see the desires that rule his heart that cause him to then choose to act, speak, or respond a certain way will then take priority in shepherding them toward Christ.

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Matthew Henry – It Began in a Garden

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Genesis 2:21-25

Here we have the making of the woman to be a help meet for Adam. This was done upon the sixth day, as was also the placing of Adam in paradise, though it is here mentioned after an account of the seventh day’s rest; but what was said in general (Gen 1:27), that God made man male and female, is more distinctly related here.

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Tim Challies – Nurture Your Children

There are few roles in which we feel deeper inadequacy than our role as fathers. What suits us to the task of raising little people? What assurance can we have that we are doing it well? What will our children someday say of us? These are big and perplexing questions, so it is little wonder that church bulletin boards are covered with posters for parenting seminars and library shelves are groaning under the weight of parenting books. One study found that in the past 10 years alone, publishers have released more than 75 thousand books on the subject. Parenting is tough, and none of us is fully up to the challenge.

Considering the importance and difficulty of the task, we may find it surprising how little direct guidance the New Testament offers us. Its clearest instruction is found in Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” The parallel passage in Colossians 3:21 adds just one minor detail: “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” While we’re grateful for this divine guidance, we are probably left wishing there was more of it. Couldn’t God have answered a few more of our questions? What about spanking versus timeouts? What about homeschooling versus Christian or public schooling? What about the age to buy a child her first iPhone or the right way to oversee her selection of a spouse? Couldn’t we have just a little bit more detail?

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J. C. Ryle – Boys and Girls Playing

“The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing.” Zechariah 8:5

Dear children, the text at the top of this page is about things to come. God tells us what there will be one day in the streets of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, you know, is a very famous place. It was the chief town of the Jews. It was the city where David and Solomon lived. It was the city where Christ died on the Cross and rose again. All boys and girls who read the Bible know something about Jerusalem.

Jerusalem was once a very grand and rich town. In all the earth there was no city like it when the Jews feared God. But the sins of the Jews brought ruin on Jerusalem. It became a poor, decayed, dirty place, and a sorrow to all who see it.

But a day shall yet come when Jerusalem shall be once more a grand and beautiful place…And then the words of the text will come to pass: “The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing.”

Dear children, there are two things I want you to learn out of this text. You see, God tells us that in the holiest, best days of Jerusalem there will be boys and girls playing in the streets. He tells us this, and He does not say that it is wrong. Let us see what we can make of this.

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Book Review – Face Time: Your Identity in a Selfie World

Back in the 1980s, the infamous singer Madonna opined in her song “Material Girl” about the life of a girl living in a world focused on fleeting relationships and possessions. Fast forward to the 21st century and one can certainly attest the words of the aforementioned song pale in comparison to the world of selfies, social media, and the ever growing pursuit of vanity.

We have a teenage daughter. As with most teenagers, she struggles at times when it comes to matters related to self-image and fitting in to the passing fads of the day. She recognizes these fads for what they are, namely passing fancies of a self-absorbed culture; however, the urge to be part of the crowd still remains.

Kristen Hatton, in her excellent book Face Time: Your Identity in a Selfie World, provides helpful tools for teens to deal with the temptation to fit in to the world’s version of identity. Hatton covers all the hot button topics teenage girls deal with on a daily basis such as body image, eating disorders, materialism, friends, peer pressure, sex, and self-harm just to name a few. In opposition to that worldly perspective, Hatton presents a biblical approach to identity with a keen focus on providing teenage girls with tools to stay focused on what matters – their relationship with Jesus.

We actually utilized this book as part of our homeschool Bible curriculum. It was quite easy to use this book in that manner given Hatton provides short yet insightful chapters that each conclude with hard hitting “Reflection Time” questions and space to journal about Scriptures that deal with the issue presented in each chapter.

What I appreciated most about Face Time is Hatton saturates each chapter with sound biblical truth. While it is helpful to share stories, humor, and personal experience (which are provided throughout), Hatton consistently focuses the reader on looking to the truth found in Scripture as the foundation for how we understand life, self, and our relationship with God.

I highly recommend this excellent book for parents with teenage daughters and also for youth group leaders. In a time where far too many teenagers attempt to find their self-identity from social media in all its forms, it is vitally important to combat the world’s ideology with the truth of Scripture. The identity of our teenage girls is not found in the latest fashions, the hottest technology, fad diets, or in the arms of a boy who feigns love. Their true and lasting identity is found in Jesus and Kristen Hatton does a marvelous job of outlining the importance of that truth for girls who may be struggling with the temptation to conform to the world’s often twisted perspective on life.

I received this book for free from New Growth Press and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Christina Fox – When Homeschool is Hard

Whenever I meet someone new, they inevitably ask what grade my children are in and what school they attend. When I answer that we homeschool, I often hear in response, “I thought about homeschooling once. For about five minutes. I decided not to because I just don’t have the patience. I am impressed with anyone who can do it.”

I smile and nod. Sometimes I leave it at that. Other times I tell them the truth, “Yes, it is hard. In fact, I quit about once a week.” This usually makes them laugh.

But really, I do quit once a week.

To be honest, homeschooling isn’t hard just because my patience gets stretched. It’s hard because everything is stretched. The longer I do it, the more I realize what I’ve sacrificed. Because I homeschool, it means I’m not employed in my profession, the one I worked so hard to learn and attain. Because I homeschool, I miss out on engaging with other adults. People are often concerned that children who are homeschooled miss out on social interactions. The truth is, I miss out on social interactions. There are ministry opportunities I can’t participate in. Not only that, but it’s hard to squeeze in all the necessary things of life when your day is filled with lessons—like personal doctor’s appointments.

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Nick Batzig – Don’t Waste Your Commute

We live in what has to be the most frenetic society in all of human history. It seems as though things are just getting faster and faster, and the pressure to fill our schedules with non-essential activities is becoming more and more demanding. The impact of such a dynamic is not easy to measure; but, one of the things that I have noticed in my own life is that it is easy for our devotional life and family worship to fall by the wayside if we are not guarded and purposeful about it.

God has entrusted us with a stewardship to shepherd the children He has given us. They belong to Him. He has loaned them to us and made us stewards of their souls. What we do with regard to bringing them up in the training and admonition of the Lord will have an impact on them for the rest of their lives and for all of eternity. In as much as this stewardship is of paramount importance, it is also one of the responsibilities that we most quickly abnegate when we allow ourselves to get caught up in the rat race of our society. Are there tangible things that we can do to safeguard against the temptation to neglect such an important aspect of our lives? I believe that there are quite a number of practical steps that we can take in order to carry out the pursuit of feeding our own souls and bringing our shepherding our children, even in the midst of such a frenetic society.

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Mike Phay – Discerning Your Child’s Spiritual State

As you speak with your child about Jesus, God’s Word, and their relationship with God, there are several biblical values that should frame your approach to this ongoing conversation. Oftentimes, parents are intimidated to have spiritual conversations with their children simply because they doubt their own competence. They fear that they will get it wrong. Christian parents often tend to take the minimalist route, which is easy and requires no college degree: Let’s just get our child to “pray the prayer” to “accept Jesus into their heart.” That done: success! My child’s eternal destiny is secure, and we can return to life as normal. But God has called and equipped Christian parents for something more.

This simplistic approach with your child is missing the deep importance of the parent/child relationship: God has given you to your child as a leader, mentor, teacher, and disciple-maker. These kinds of everyday spiritual conversations should be a part of your life rhythm with your child. As God commanded the Israelite parents in regard to His commandments: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:7)

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Tim Challies – When You Pray With Your Children, You Are Teaching Your Children to Pray

Every night my girls want me to pray with them and for them. If I do not tuck them in at night, or if I forget to pray when I do tuck them in, I can be sure that sooner or later I will hear feet coming down the stairs and then the question: “Daddy, will you pray with us?” Sometimes I think they are expressing a good and heartfelt desire and other times I think they are merely being superstitious, as if bad dreams will plague them and every shadow will frighten them if I do not pray. Either way, I never refuse them.

The other night I neglected to pray with them. It was at the end of a long day, I had fulfilled my parenting duties, I had gone off the clock, I wanted some “me time.” And then I heard the footsteps on the stairs. I groaned inwardly. “Daddy, you didn’t pray with us!”

To continue reading Tim Challies’ article, click here.

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