Growing as Parents: Our Influence and Attitude
By Tamara Eaton
Many Christian parents choose to homeschool so they can be the primary influence in their children's lives. They want to follow the principle set forth in Deuteronomy 6:5-7: Loving the Lord with all their hearts, souls, and might and teaching their children His Word and His ways when they're sitting in their house, walking by the way, and when they lie down and when they rise up--all the time! So...what type of influence have you been upon your children today?
Every child is a gracious gift from the Lord--a sacred trust--entrusted into our care to be loved, cherished, provided for, nurtured and trained for His glory. God gives them to us to prepare them for His purposes--and if we want to be good parents, we must depend upon Him DAILY for wisdom and grace! It's not enough to teach them about the way they should go--we must train them and demonstrate a godly attitude toward them, too. Thankfully, we have our loving Heavenly Father as our example, encourager, and enabler!
As homeschooling parents, we probably have more influence upon our children's lives than anyone else. Recently, I was thinking about the idea promoted by sociologists : "What you think of yourself is largely determined by your perception of what the most important person in your life thinks of you." If this is true, what do our children believe we think about them? Generally parents are the most important people in a child's life. We may feel unconditional love toward them--but do they perceive it? Is it demonstrated in our daily lives?
It's easy to get caught up in homeschooling and focus on the children's academic performance--inadvertently giving them the impression that performing well equals acceptance, but experiencing difficulties equals disapproval or even rejection. Our attitude has such an effect upon them! Our children need to feel secure in our unconditional love. In a very real sense, the security they feel in our love and care can influence how secure they feel in their Heavenly Father's love and care--which truly is unconditional. (Romans 8:35-39) Our love for our children should always reflect God's love
Psalm 103 gives some beautiful instances of how God deals with His children:
- He forgives us
- He crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercies
- He gives us good things
- He executes righteousness and justice
- He makes known His Ways
- He is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in mercy
- He pities those who fear Him, just as a father pities His children
- He knows our frame, and remembers that we are dust
There are many other references in Scripture that portray a loving Heavenly Father who doesn't allow a temptation too great for us, and who doesn't overwhelm us with too much at once. He considers what we can handle and helps us overcome by encouraging us-- giving us hope and confidence that we CAN be what He wants us to be if we yield ourselves to Him.
Some of the ways we can demonstrate our love daily to our children are:
- Seeing our children as blessings--not taking them for granted.
- Appreciating their gifts and being patient with their weaknesses--taking time to pray for them and asking God to show us the best way to nurture the gifts and strengthen the weaknesses.
- Asking their forgiveness and being open when we've not handled something properly.
- Watching our tone of voice when talking to them.
- Treating them with respect, not talking about them disparagingly in their presence. Even little ears are capable of picking up on negative comments, resulting in wounds and feelings of rejection and possibly rebellion.
- Giving them the gift of time. Really getting to KNOW them, appreciating them, accepting them, and understanding them. Making them feel *special*--never like they are an imposition. Listening to them (even at bedtime when we are so tired and ready to tuck them into bed!).
- Setting limits and boundaries concerning their behavior--love always sets limits. But making the rules reasonable, never excessive. God's commandments are never grievous or burdensome--we should follow His example, here, too! (1 John 5:3; Matthew 11:28-30)
There are no perfect parents. We're all still growing! As we come into a deeper understanding of God's Word and how to apply it to our lives, we must obey it, and that requires daily changes in our thoughts and actions. As the Lord works in an area, jot down ways you're committed to change. Look up Scriptures that would apply. Thank Him for the grace and courage to overcome and not give in to the way of the flesh.
Change is rarely easy, but we don't have to do it all on our own. God promises to work in us both to will and do of His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13) He just asks us to yield to Him and abide in Him and He will see to it that we bring forth much fruit. (John 15) We make the choice, He gives the enabling to overcome-- so we are without excuse. The Lord builds the motivation within us to do what's right if we desire to please Him above all else!
If necessary, rededicate yourself and your children to God. Ask Him to help you view them as a precious inheritance, arrows to be shaped, lives to be molded. Ask Him for wisdom and direction so that you might not labor in vain. Remember, He promises to provide the example, the encouragement and the enabling!
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." --1Corinthians 15:58
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not..." --2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:1
"Teach the young women... to love their children" --Titus 2:4
"And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." --Ephesians 6:4
"Charity suffereth long, and is kind...Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.... Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth..." --1 Corinthians 13:4-8
[Note--If you don't know the Lord in a personal, saving way--find out how you can be set free from all condemnation and receive Eternal life, as well as His daily help and guidance! (Knowing God)
© Copyright Tamara Eaton 1994-2000, all rights reserved.
Permission is given to reprint any of Tamara's articles in non-profit publications as long as the article is reprinted in full and contains the copyright information and website address. Please send a copy of the publication to :Deeper Life Family Ministries, P.O. Box 909, Killen, AL 35645.
We have always homeschooled our six children (elementary through high school and beyond!) and enjoy encouraging other families in their homeschooling, parenting and in the Lord! For more help and information, please join us on the Christian Homeschool Fellowship Message Board.
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"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."