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The Rushmore Report: Ten Traits of Successful Christian Parenting

God has made each one of our children special in his or her own unique way. My role as a parent isn’t to help my child be perfect or become more like his or her peers. My main goal as a parent is to ensure my children are everything God made them to be. So what does “success” mean to the Christian parent? For me, it is to raise my kids in a manner that cultivates their hearts for God.

The Apostle Paul told the early church to imitate him as he imitated Christ. I believe every parent is called to the same mission. Much of our pursuit as parents comes down to a modeling effect. Our children will likely follow where we’ve already been and one day head down the same road we’re on right now.

Here are ten parenting traits or patterns that will help build a pathway for your child as he or she matures into the adult God desires them to be.

1. Teach them early and often when it comes to the Gospel message.

Children are sponges by design. It’s essential that we pour into them the truth found in God’s Word and the amazing grace that he has bestowed upon us.

2. Instill in your children that they are “fearfully and wonderfully” made by a God who has a special purpose for their lives.

Their self-esteem is not derived from man. Rather, their self-esteem is rooted in their understanding of how much their God loves them.

3. Be a student of your child’s heart.

There is nothing sweeter to a parent than seeing our children love God. Second to that is to see our sons and daughters glorify God with their unique giftedness.

4. Dedicate time each day to acknowledge God in your lives.

Our faith in Jesus is foremost a relationship and not a once a week event. Allow your children to find the joy of walking with Christ every day by being in his Word together and spending time in prayer on a regular basis.

5. Train your sons and daughters with the end goal in mind.

Boyhood and girlhood are not destinations. Rather, they are a part of a longer journey that is leading our sons and daughters into becoming men and women.

6. Never let your anger drive your discipline.

There have been times in my life as a father that I wished I could have a “do over.” Disciplining my kids in anger is one of them. Don’t do it – ever.

7. Allow your household to be a refuge of mercy and grace.

Our children must never forget that the mercy and grace afforded to us by God is saturated with the blood of Jesus Christ.

8. Laugh and enjoy life.

Christ gave us the greatest example of what a true servant of God looks like. He came not to be served, but to serve. We need to serve our children in a way that brings joy and laughter.

9. Encourage children to desire and value hard work.

Look for opportunities to serve others as a family. These have been some of my favorite times with my family.

10. Always reinforce that our greatest life goal is to glorify God in all we do.

When it’s all said and done, this is the essence of life – to glorify God with our lives.

About the Author

JT Waresak writes for James Dobson’s Family Talk.

Teen Sick of Mom Barging into Room with Clean Laundry

Kids gone wild – it happened in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. Voicing great displeasure at her blatant disregard for his privacy, area teenager Chad Fleming reported Wednesday that he is fed up with his mother always barging into his bedroom to put away freshly washed laundry.

“Jesus, Mom! Why can’t you just respect my personal space?” an angered Fleming told his mother, who entered his bedroom unannounced, carrying a basket full of clothes that she had spent the previous two hours separating by color, washing, and neatly folding.

Chad continued, “Is it so hard to knock? God, you never let me be.”

We won’t know how this story ends for some time. But it really doesn’t matter. Should Mrs. Fleming knock before entering her son’s room? Probably. But does she have the right to enter her son’s room – especially with his clean laundry – anytime she wants? Definitely.

It says a lot about where we are as a society that a teenager . . .

1. Can’t do his own laundry

2. Doesn’t first express gratitude to his mother for doing his laundry

3. Then complains to friends (who contacted the media about his mother’s “intrusion”)

When I was a boy, this would not have happened. That’s because I was expected to do my own laundry. At the risk of sounding really old, beginning at age eight, I had to walk across the street in my apartment complex to the laundry area, shove in a bunch of quarters, and do my laundry myself. And for the seven years we didn’t have a washing machine, I continued this practice – never feeling the persecution of the moment.

Had my mother entered my room unannounced, with an armful of laundry – clean and folded – snapping at her would have been the last thing I would have done. My dad would have made sure of that!

So here’s to moms everywhere. It’s your home and your kids’ laundry. If you want to be so kind as to do for them what they could have done for themselves, and personally take it into their room unannounced, prepare for the consequences. But the next time you feel the urge, you might want to consider letting little Chad learn the intricacies of a modern washing machine himself.

It will do him good. In life, he will eventually have to learn to deal with his own dirty laundry, anyway.

The Rushmore Report: Five Common Mistakes Christian Parents Make

My wife and I are in the throes of parenting and are surrounded, in our church and among friends, with other parents in the throes of parenting. So my parenting radar is hot. I’m learning, growing, and repenting every day as I ask the Lord to make me a faithful dad. And here’s a list of five common mistakes in parenting I’ve observed many Christian parents making.

1. We overexpose our kids to the culture.

The Bible doesn’t use the term “culture,” but there is a very similar word – “world.” This is a loose definition of the prevailing thinking in a given society. Typically, the values of the culture run counter to the way of Christ. We can be passive in allowing them to form ungodly convictions based on what everyone else is thinking and saying. What’s more, there are corrosive images that can hurt their souls. This is why we have to be wise to monitor the media they consume, how much time they spend online, and the amount of time they spend with friends.

2. We underexpose our kids to the culture.

This is an equal and opposite danger to overexposure. It is easy to adopt a fortress mentality as parents. There is a tendency to overprotect our kids so much that we fail to prepare them for their mission in this world. If our only parenting mode is protection, we fail to teach them how to apply the Scriptures to the reality of life in a sinful world. What’s more, we rob them of the God-glorifying act of enjoying, consuming, and creating the best of culture: art, beauty, and grace as expressed by artists whose talent points to a masterful Creator.

3. We mediate all of their petty disputes.

I wonder if there is a more difficult thing to resist than the impulse to dive in and solve all of my kids’ interpersonal problems with their friends. But I’ve found that when I become my child’s defense attorney all the time, it not only harms my child’s ability to make good choices; it destroys the fragile unity among Christian parents.

4. We focus only on short-term behaviors.

I’m learning this lesson as my daughter Grace gets older. She’s eight now and we’ve given her some liberty to go a few houses down and visit with her friends. These are good families with whom we have good relationships. At times we’ve gotten upset with Grace because she made poor choices, such as going past the boundaries we’ve set. But we also are trying to teach her to draw her own boundaries. If we make every decision for our kids, we give them no space to fail. And that robs them of learning experiences.

5. We overcompensate for our perceived childhood gaps.

Every generation tends to react to the mistakes of the previous generation. We want to avoid the reactive, seesaw parenting if we can. It’s good to highlight areas where we think our parents might have missed the mark, but we need to be careful to not overcompensate. Like our parents, we are fallen sinners in need of God’s grace. Our parenting will have huge gaps. So let’s have some humility.

About the Author

Daniel Darling is the Vice President for Communications at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He is an author, speaker, and columnist.

What Great Parents Do

In his book, The Upper Room, J. C. Ryle writes on the subject of effective parenting. He offers 17 observations on what successful Christian parents do well. These are five of those strategies.

1. They train their children in the way they should go, not the way they would go.

The child knows not yet what is good for his mind and soul, any more than what is good for his body. The good parent does not just teach his child what to eat and when to sleep, but how to live.

2. They parent with tenderness.

Love should be the silver thread that runs through all the parent’s conduct. The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is present in effective Christian parenting.

3. They teach their kids God’s Word.

Effective parenting involves teaching the Bible. The Word is to dwell in the child fully. It is never too early to begin.

4. They lead their children to a lifestyle of prayer.

Prayer is the breath of real religion. Prayer is, of all habits, the one which we recollect the longest.

5. They teach their kids to manage their time wisely.

Parents teach their kids to value time, and to use it well. As Billy Graham says, what we do with our time is the one thing that makes all the difference.

The Rushmore Report: Ten Keys to Great Parenting

When I minister in churches, couples often ask, “How can I raise godly children?” I sense these parents are longing for me to give them a formula in which to input their offspring so that children who love and respect the Lord will pop out. However, as most seasoned parents understand, this requires the wisdom gleaned from biblical principles.

Therefore, please understand these ten keys are not meant to be an all inclusive parenting manual, but rather major biblical points of consideration that God has shown Debbie and me over the last 30 years as we raised our four sons. We readily admit that we made mistakes along the way, but our God was gracious to confirm what we did right and to gently teach us through our mistakes. Hopefully, you can benefit from all he has shown us.

1. Develop a passionate relationship with God.

God tells parents, “You shall teach your children diligently, and shall talk to them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:6). Parenting knows no breaks and has no holidays.

2. Strong marriages add stability to a child’s life.

It is only the couple who loves each other and has a strong marital foundation that realizes successful parenting. If the marriage is not sound, the parenting won’t be sound.

3. Make the Word of God your standard.

We are living in a day that offers as many views on parenting as there are parents. But the ultimate authority is not our personal experience or what Dr. Benjamin Spock has to say – it is what God has to say.

4. Both parents must be on the same page.

In Amos 3:3, God asks, “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” To succeed as parents, mom and dad must be reading from the same playbook.

5. Protect your children.

In a culture that is infiltrated with humanistic thought, sexual immorality, ungodly media, and false teachers, it is essential to protect kids’ well being.

6. Bless your children.

The necessity of bestowing blessings is frequently overlooked. There are many children today who are desperately  pleading with Esau, “Bless me, even me also, O my father” (Genesis 27:34). Every child longs for the blessing of his or her father and mother.

7. Understand your child’s greatest need.

Understanding your child’s greatest need begins with acknowledging their greatest problem. Their chief problem is that they are born a sinner (Psalm 51:5). Parents must emphasize the need for a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

8. The father should lead in parenting.

Paul gives dads specific parenting advice that is not given to mothers (Ephesians 6:4). One of the most critical needs in our culture is for fathers to take an active role in parenting their children.

9. Train your children.

Children are trained to do two things: obey and honor their parents (Ephesians 6:1-3). John MacArthur writes, “Children do not go bad because of something their parents do. They are born sinful, and that sinfulness manifests itself because of what their parents do not do.”

10. Teach your children to reverence God.

One of the most overlooked keys to raising God-honoring children is teaching them to fear God. This starts with teaching them the wonderful attributes of God.

About the Author

Sam Wood is the founder and director of Family Fortress Ministries, along with his wife, Debbie. Together, they have conducted hundreds of marriage and parenting conferences. They authored What Is Marriage in 2004; it serves as a signature guide for parenting for churches and couples.

The Rushmore Report: Melania Won’t Live at White House – And It’s a Good Idea

Future First Lady Melania Trump will not be moving into the White House when President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated in January. The New York Post reports that Melania has decided to stay at Trump Tower in New York City, rather than move into the White House. Jason Miller, Donald’s communications director, has confirmed this plan. But it’s not what you think. Melania staying back in New York is actually a good idea.

Melania will not be alone. Their ten-year-old son, Barron, will be with her. While the Trump team has hesitated to discuss the plan, with the leak of the disclosure, Miller has been forced to address the situation. And the reason Melania will not move into the White House is a good one.

“There’s obviously a sensitivity to pulling their ten-year-old out of school in the middle of the school year,” said Miller. Another source close to the campaign confirmed, “Melania is extremely close to Barron, and they became closer during the campaign. It was difficult for Barron, and she is really hoping to keep disruption to a minimum.”

While Melania will travel to Washington, D.C. “as needed,” a full family move will not take place until after the end of the current school year.

Not everyone agrees with this decision, of course. One person has gone to Twitter, stating, “This is a disgrace to the White House and the American people.”

I, for one, applaud Melania’s decision. She is actually putting her son’s well-being ahead of the desire of the media to gaze into her family’s every move.

In The Working Mom Manifesto, Heather Schuck wrote, “Our children want more than presents; they want our PRESENCE.” James Dobson says that when a child turns ten years of age, he will have spent half the time with his parents that he will spend in his lifetime.

Melania Trump is right to put Barron first. She is giving her son the greatest gift she has – her presence. There will be plenty of time to live under the spotlight of the White House Press.

The Rushmore Report: James Dobson Speaks to Parents

I believe the most valuable contribution a parent can make to his child is to instill in him or her a genuine faith in Jesus Christ. What a greater sense of self-worth could there be than knowing that the Creator of the universe is acquainted with me personally? That he values me more than the possessions of the entire world, that he understands my fears and my anxieties, that he reaches out to me in immeasurable love when no one else cares, that he actually gave his life for me, that he can turn my liabilities into assets and my emptiness into fullness – these are the values we must teach our children.

We must teach them that a better life follows this one, where the present handicaps and inadequacies will all be eliminated, where earthly pain and suffering will be no more than a dim memory! What a beautiful philosophy with which to clothe your tender child. What a fantastic message of hope and encouragement for the broken teenager who has been crushed by life’s circumstances. This is true self-worth at its richest, dependent not on the whims of birth or social judgment or the cult of the superchild, but on divine decree.

About the Author

Dr. James Dobson is an American evangelical Christian author, psychologist, and founded Focus on the Family in 1977, whose radio broadcasts are carried over 7,000 stations in 164 countries. Dobson has been widely recognized as one of the premier Christian leaders in America. Among his 36 published books are The Strong-Willed Child and Straight Talk for Men.