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.