Monday, November 17, 2008

The Goal of Child-Raising

"The goal [of child-raising] is not primarily to protect our kids."
Rich Nathan, Vineyard Church of Columbus, spoke this weekend on Raising Wise Children in a Foolish World. The series, Everything Your Parents Should Have Taught You (But Probably Didn't) has been insightful and challenging. You can listen to the messages online at This series began September 21, 2008.

Being a mother and spending a lot of time volunteering with a child-focused prayer ministry, this weeks message was particularly encouraging. Here are a few points from the message:
  • Parents are responsible for impressing God's Word on the heart's of their children - not Awana, not Upward sports, not every VBS you can get them to, not even the children's ministry at your church. These other things are good but only if they are reinforcing what is being taught at home. The parents have the primary responsibility to disciple their children - and that doesn't mean seeing that someone else does it. (Deuteronomy 6.6-7)

  • The goal of child-raising is not primarily to protect our kids. The goal is discipling and developing children who are wise. Too many of us live the Christian life in the defensive mode - wanting to protect our children and ourselves from "the world". This isn't what Jesus did. His work was to bring the kingdom of God everywhere he went. We are to carry on his work. We can't extend the kingdom if we hide from the world. We need to put on the armor and get out in the world in the name of Jesus. And, we need to be training our children to do the same. (Matthew 28.19-20)

  • Discipline is more than spanking (or any other punishment).
  • Discipline confirms love (Proverbs 3.11-12). 

  • Discipline is a two-way street. We can't force our child to learn from the discipline. The child is responsible to accept discipline.

  • Discipline begins when they are young.

  • Discipline must be individually tailored. Don't expect everything you hear or read in a popular book to work for your child. You can't even expect the discipline that works with one of your children to always work with another one of your children.
Have you ever wished there were a child-raising handbook? Well, there is. Look at Proverbs 1.4. The book was written to give "knowledge and discretion to the young." You will find in the opening of chapters two through seven and scattered throughout the entire book that Solomon is speaking these words of wisdom to his son.

Do you want to protect your child or teach them to be wise so that they can stand up to the foolishness in the world? Christian programs can give your children knowledge but only the parent or a caring one-on-one mentor can foster wisdom.

No comments:

the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

Copyright 2005-2010 Lisa Biggs Crum
Email for reprint permission