This summer our church is doing a series called Don’t Be Dumb! The practical messages about how to do life are taken straight from the book of Proverbs. This past week’s message was on parenting.
As a grandmother now, I often think and remark to my husband that I’m glad my parenting days are over. I love having the little ones over but they are so full of energy and enthusiasm I often find myself a little weary after they’ve gone. Content and delighted that I got to spend time with them, but weary nonetheless. And that’s when I realize why God gave women the gift of menopause…because at some point it’s time to rest and leave the parenting to the younger crowd!
But though I’m not actively parenting children, I am grand parenting four and am still and always will be a parent to my two by birth and my two by marriage. And in that regard I still have quite a responsibility on my shoulders to portray godly character traits at all times and in all ways because…little AND big eyes are always watching.
Let me give you just a few brief phrases from Sunday that sum up the message, are easily remembered, and pack quite a punch.
- Start children off on the way they should go and even when they are old they will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6). A verse we all know, it contains great truths. Don’t put off being a good parent or grandparent. Attend to those responsibilities now. The Bible promises a good outcome if we do so while they’re young (and you have the energy), take the time to instill love, discipline, and a focus on God.
- Be intentional and deliberate in your parenting. Don’t be passive and assume all will be well. It takes diligence and consistency but the payoff is huge and worth it.
- What’s rewarded is repeated. Yes, there are times when we will negatively correct behavior but let’s spend even more time looking for the good behavior and rewarding it. Kids respond to that, see what’s required and what makes Mom or Dad happy, and then naturally repeat the behavior.
- We run into danger when our focus is on making children happy, rather than holy. So often we want to be the fun parent or grandma. We steer clear of investing in the training to make our kids holy and instead spend time just trying to make them happy. But all the toys in the world, all the special events or treats, all the lavish gifts, all the vacations hold no eternal value. The eternal value is in pointing our kids and grands toward Christ and Christ-like behavior.
We each need to find our own way but the above certainly provide some great starting points (taken from the June 21 parenting message from Real Life Church in Clermont, FL). You can watch the message here or get the message motes here.
As grandparents our time of hands-on parenting (typically) has ended but we always have influence. We can always pray, and we can always love. So let’s think about how we can assist our adult kids in training the little ones. Let’s be intentional and deliberate in our actions. Let’s reward great behavior from the children. Let’s lead by example. And let’s focus not on making others happy but in living holy lives and helping nurture our grands toward living holy lives as well.
For more on this message series or other practical, real-life messages, please visit the Real Life website.