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.


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