Biblical parenting and
Many parents seem to think of discipleship as a big concept that is unattainable or at best difficult and boring. We’d like to challenge that mindset and help you see that Biblical parenting can be fun and exciting! We have found that the more we delight in God, the more exciting life becomes. As Psalm 37:4 states, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” It’s true!
You may currently think of discipleship as that devotional dad is supposed to lead every day, or the Bible story that mom is supposed to read with the quaint little moral lesson that sounds a lot like Aesop’s fables.
Some of those simple and prepared lessons are great, but usually we found them unappealing. Why do children’s Bible lessons have to be so simple and calm and predictable? Okay, well, there may be some good reasons. But have you read the Bible? There’s some pretty crazy stuff in there!
I began reading the Bible to our oldest son Caleb when he was in the womb. He got a head start on the Biblical training. By the time he was about 7 years old, he was reading the Bible on his own and started reading straight through it shortly thereafter. I remember a conversation with my dad, when he came for a visit around the time Caleb was about 8 or 9. Caleb was reading through the Old Testament, and he had some questions. He asked his grandpa why anyone would want to have sex with an animal. I suppose I should’ve warned my dad about what Caleb was reading in Leviticus (chapter 18), but I didn’t actually realize he was that far along. I think Caleb has always been a step ahead of us. My dad must’ve certainly been wondering how and what we were teaching him if these were the kinds of questions that he was raising at 8 or 9 years old. We’re thankful now that Caleb learned the Bible so well and started studying it so early. With all the crazy things our kids encounter in the world today, reading the Bible together and addressing these questions early on is necessary!
The Bible is full of interesting stories. Did you know there’s one about a kid falling out a third story window? He died and came back to life (in Acts 20). Cool, right? Boys love that kind of stuff. My boys still laugh about the “great rushing wind” that suddenly blew through the room in Acts 2. Ask Luke about it and he’ll tell you (with a silly smile on his face), “No one knew from where it came…except Peter.” Perhaps you think it irreverent of us to laugh about the Bible, but we think God has a pretty good sense of humor. Some of our favorite memories are snuggling up together on the couch reading the Bible together, talking and laughing and enjoying the goodness of God together as a family!
We balance the humor and light-hearted times with appropriate times of reverence. Our kids observe us worshipping God and worship with us each week at church. While many churches have become more casual, we have chosen to attend a church that exhibits reverence and excellence in worship. We attempt to demonstrate our awe of God and our honor for Him as we worship with others in an orderly way, presenting our praise and offerings with as much excellence as we are able.
Our children have worshipped with us each week from the time they were very young, just old enough to sit and listen while playing quietly with a toy or coloring or reading a book. They have seen us worship in tears, pray intently, and declare our faith and trust in a room filled with other men and women that they know are also serving and giving in our community. They have seen a faith that is not just spoken but lived out to the best of our ability, admitting failures and asking for forgiveness when needed. They hear us talk about the people God brings into our lives and the ways we are learning from them and teaching them. They have seen us interact, serve, and give. We believe it is important for children to be present with their parents in worship on a regular basis, even if it creates a bit of discomfort. Children need to know that they are an important and valuable part of the church.
We recognize that many people have had negative experiences in church. We’ve had some of those also. The church does not consist of perfect people. We don’t immediately stop sinning when we choose to follow Christ. The more time passes and the more we learn about God, the more we recognize how we fall short of His standard. Everyone knows intuitively that some things are right and wrong. God has set a standard that none of us are able to attain. We have all made wrong choices, and God’s justice and holiness requires that our bad choices be punished. But the penalty for our sin is too great – the Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death. Thankfully, though, it also tells us that the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ! Because Jesus took our punishment and died on the cross in our place, we no longer have to bear the burden of our sin. We can choose to accept the free gift of forgiveness that God offers by simply telling Him that we believe Jesus died for our sins and asking Him to become our LORD and Savior.
When you accept that gift of forgiveness, it’s likely that you’ll respond with thankfulness and a desire to do what is right, to please God, to serve Him. Life doesn’t immediately become free from pain and hardship, but it does become more filled with peace and joy as you realize that God is with you to help you through any difficulties or hardships.
We have found that God often brings tremendous blessings through those things we often consider hardships and difficulties. In fact, the Bible tells us that these “light momentary afflictions” are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. We can often look back on our experiences and see how God used struggles to bring something wonderful.
You can learn more about how God has taught us through these experiences beginning on the page of our website titled, “Down syndrome and Being A Family with Unique Needs.” You can also read about many of our experiences in our book, “Powered by Love.”
We hope you’ll be encouraged and learn from what we share of our experiences in discipling our children! Look for a link to contact us and sign up to receive emails. We’ll send you a copy of “12 Tips for Teaching Truth.” It provides encouragement for you to consider ways you can begin teaching truth in many more aspects of life.