On Sunday, we looked at Ephesians 6:4, which instructs fathers not to “exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
Jim quoted the following definition from Andrew Lincoln in the Word Biblical Commentary, Ephesians on exasperating a child:
This involves avoiding attitudes, words, and actions which would drive a child to angry exasperation or resentment and thus rules out severe discipline, unreasonably harsh demands, abuse of authority, arbitrariness, unfairness, constant nagging and condemnation, subjecting a child to humiliation, and all forms of gross insensitivity to a child’s needs and sensibilities.
If that is a great summary of what not to do, I have included an additional resource on advice from the Bible on what to do when training and instructing children that Jim prepared for the sermon entitled, “Character Education,” which he gave on July 11, 2010 as part of our series on Proverbs — “Navigate Life.”
Character Education Notes
All is well,
As I mentioned in the service this morning, I was given a copy of the March/April 2012 edition of PrayerConnect magazine this week. Inside was the article, “31 Ways to Pray for Your Teen” that I thought would be really helpful for parents.
Although this is specifically aimed at teenagers, parents can easily adapt this guide when praying for their child(ren), regardless of their ages.
Prayer Article, Part 1
Prayer Article, Part 2
This week I was thinking about my role as a mother with Mother’s Day approaching on Sunday. In the midst of bickering children and piles of laundry, God reminded me of a passage from Jim’s book, The Gift of Church:
Is there a more inefficient job in all the world than being a mother? The return on investment is often painfully low. Day after day, sweeping the same floors, reading the same books, and probing for information about how school went in an attempt to raise godly, mature, successful children can seem as efficient as carving Mount Rushmore with a toothpick. If we were to judge simply by outward appearances, it would seem that camp directors are much more effective at transforming the lives of children and youth than mothers. Many are the stories of children who show up to camp frightened and uninterested, only to leave a week or two later with new friends and new ambitions — often professing a life-changing experience at camp. Perhaps we should consider a massive layoff of mothers and just send our kids to camp.
Before you take me seriously, let’s admit that in some ways the mothering process is, indeed, terribly ‘inefficient’ if we are simply looking for quick results. But it is precisely because the process is slow and lengthy that real change occurs. Camp has its place — that one-week, mountain-top experience that is part of longer-term transformation — but it isn’t the model for raising children. Character is developed and lives are molded and shaped by the ‘slow and steady’ progress of nurturing that occurs day in and day out. This is what gives motherhood (and parenting in general) the power to bring about authentic change that leads to maturity.
The same is true of church.
So, Moms, if you feel like you are carving Mount Rushmore with a toothpick this week (such a painfully accurate metaphor for mothering young children especially), be encouraged that your Christ-life attitudes and actions are molding your children’s character for eternity. And, maybe a little of your own character in the process too.
All is well,