“…Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” –Ephesians 6:4
I’ve always been curious of this word “exasperate”…what does it mean? Here are some synonyms –
agitate, annoy, enrage, rile, inflame, aggravate, “drive up a wall”, disturb…
You get the point.
Questions to consider:
I think it only fitting this week that we look at the healthy attributes of a father. How can we be better parents, teachers and leaders of the children that we’ve been given? What do we want our children to remember us by?
It is crucial that we instruct, lead and love our children on godly principles and holy living. Does it always work? No. Will we make mistakes along the way? You bet we will. Does that mean that we don’t try despite our propensity for mistakes? Absolutely not!
4 Steps to Godly Parenting:
1. Honesty with Self:
First we must tackle honesty within our conversation today. Be honest with yourself, you’re not perfect. You were not perfect growing up, and you’re not perfect now. That isn’t an excuse to not try, or to abdicate your responsibilities as parents. Just understand that sometimes the expectations that we put on our children stem from our own shortcomings and inadequacies in ourselves. We long to push our children harder and we set the bar higher because we look back at our own life and wished we had made other decisions or worked harder at specific moments in our past.
Be honest with yourself. You are the parent of a precious life, and when we push too hard out of personal unfulfilled dreams and goals, we will exasperate our child(ren). Take a long hard look at your expectations for your child. Goals aren’t bad to have, but if you find yourself pushing your child in a direction that resembles your own shortcomings and disappointments just to live vicariously through them perhaps you must stop and realign your motives and intentions! Godly parenting wants to impress Godly principles, but doesn’t try to force children into molds that do not fit their personalities and temperaments.
2. Beware of the Anger trap:
I find myself struggling with this one. It is one thing to appropriately discipline children, it is another to lose your temper and rage at them. Be careful how your discipline your child. Children model themselves after their parents. If you resemble a grumbling bear all of the time your children will eventually resemble this too. If you rage, scream and shout your child will rage, scream and shout because this is a learned trait. Similarly to growing up with an alcoholic parent, a child who grows up with a raging parent will be inclined to resemble that upbringing. This isn’t absolute, but the propensity for modeled behavior such as anger can be passed on from generation to generation.
Discipline, but don’t allow your anger to rage and fume and create a fire within your children. These flames can burn long after they have left home.
3. Show up.
Your child’s interests may not always be the same as yours. They may find a love for art or sports that perhaps you never had. Invest in your child. Spend time encouraging healthy interests. Show up to events that your child will be participating in. Also, actively find additional helps within your child’s likes. If they enjoy sports, sign them up for that soccer team in the summer. If they enjoy art, sign them up for a community art class. Take the time to show up as the guide for your child. Invest your time and encourage them in their interests. A parent who shows up and invests in their child’s interests displays to that child that they matter and they are worthwhile and valuable.
4. Share the Word and Pray.
You don’t have to do this rigidly, but “devotion” time with the family is important. Carve out intentional spiritual teaching moments with your child. Don’t make a big show of it, but let it be a part of who you are as a person and as a parent. Don’t teach from a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality either. The Word of God is vital to godly living, practice what you preach and teach through your example. You don’t have to purchase curriculum to teach your child about God. Read a passage of scripture at night after dinner or perhaps pray before bedtime. Living as a godly example to your child has to begin with a daily dose of personal time with the Lord as well. Are we spending our time in the Word of God? Do we pray diligently for our families? From this stems our desire to spiritually instruct our children in the principles of Godly living.
These are just a few suggestions to aid us as parents who long to raise our child up right. Take time to pray for your child. Ask God for guidance and wisdom as you teach and love your family.
-Just something else to ponder today.