Character training is a main vein that runs through the thread of our parenting style. In being a Godly mother and father, we understand the value of raising children for the Kingdom who will exemplify Christ to everyone they meet. This is the very reason why we take the time to passionately pour into them. As parents, my husband and I believe God’s divine plan means that we should have the most influence over our children. This is a major undertaking which encompasses teaching, training and mentoring our son and daughters on how to follow the Lord wholeheartedly.
Our duty is to leave a lofty inheritance of a Heavenly bounty for what the Father calls “our rewards”; aka our offspring. When we view the children through this spiritual lens, we understand the importance of stewarding these gifts in the form of our children! Then, we can aspire to give Glory where Glory’s due by pouring into these blessings, so that one day we may return God’s children back to Him with Kingdom values, morals, and virtues instilled in them!
For years, lots of us moms had this all wrong! I’d watch kids run their parents. I’d hear them yelling at their siblings or shouting in defiance at their mother. Rather than taking up their God-given authority to discipline the child right then and there, they would only ask their child to stop. Seriously? I am mortified by this because the child just continues on in disobedience until either the parent or child gets tired. (And it is usually the mother who gives in, resulting in the child getting their way.) This is called “reactive parenting”.
Truly, I used to struggle with this myself. Instead of getting on the front side of the problem, I’d react just like the mother mentioned above. Only I’d yell. In the above example, the child learns “all I have to do is wear her out to get my way”. On the contrary, like with my personal example, they, unfortunately, learn to behave by fear alone. Neither of these methods is the correct way to”train up a child in the way they should go”, as God directs.
Although the first example of “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is an erroneous parenting method because it relinquishes one’s responsibility to cultivate good character, that doesn’t mean the opposite reaction of yelling is appropriate either. Exacerbating the child is strictly forbidden in Scripture, for “man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (see also Eph. 6:4, Col. 3:21). So, what’s the best answer?
Through the Holy Spirit, as well as a variety of wise teachers on the subject, the Lord opened my eyes to a very important fact. When I placed my worth in my child’s opinion of me, I’d respond to them with more of an “approval of man” approach opposed to “this is what God says is best for you” steadfastness.
Ultimately, my job is to help raise arrows who have Godly character and get to know the true nature of the Lord for themselves. In order to fulfill my role as mom and mentor, I must model Jesus myself. This entails living The Word out in my life before them. When I put the King of Kings and Lord of Lords in His proper place, I look to pleasing Him above my children’s opinions. Fear of man creates a child-centric home but fear of God is the beginning of wisdom which keeps Jesus in His rightful place in our parenting; at the center.
In our home, we nurture the child yet correct the behavior as to help shape their character. One example is that we teach them the reason behind the rules like “When I give you directions, it’s to 1) guide you, 2) protect you and/or 3) prepare you for future obedience”.
Now they know we’re not just speaking to be heard, rather equipping them to make wise choices. Another tactic is to not just send them to their room for time out but also ask them to pray about what they did and why they did it. This strategy encourages their hearts to focus on the root cause verse the action itself, preventing behavior modification outcomes alone. Overall, our goal is to groom this next generation to live a life of Love and Truth forevermore at their core and not merely perform well outwardly.
Character training involves intentionality as well as your time, focused energy and plentiful resources! It’s a repetitive process of fostering, shepherding and imparting Biblical Truths until they launch!
Sculpt the souls entrusted to your care by presently investing yourself in your youth! It’s crucial for us to steer those coming up behind us onto the correct course through the tempest waters of the world! Let’s infuse Christ-like qualities into these foundational years of their upbringing by equipping them well! After all the effort, may you see how your “labor was not in vain nor did you bear children for calamity” like Isaiah says. No! On the contrary, watch them sail and soar because of the endowments you’ve sent them off with as they embark on their own with Captain and Commander Himself!