Category Archives: Child Training

What’s Your Bent?

Most have a tendency one way or another. These days I see men choosing self. The cry is “I’m free in Christ!” The example to their families (and others watching) is you can have Jesus in your pocket and live a selfish and fruitless life (translate fun). 

However, isn’t the better choice to serve one another in love—first our families and then those around us. Think about how that delights the Lord Jesus and our wives, and think of the example that is laid before our children.

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). 

Steve

What Ya Sowing?

The white, Limited SUV pulls up in the home daycare’s driveway and parks. A professionally dressed woman steps out of the driver’s side, and two school-age girls pile out of the back seat. The girls race toward the front door. The winner grabs a short rope attached to a large antique “dinner bell” beside the door. Simultaneous to the loud clanging, the mother’s voice scolds,”I told you not to touch that bell.” The ringing continues along with childish laughter until the stronger, but slower girl successfully pushes the race winner aside. She now begins her turn ringing that bell loudly providing a tune accompanied to lyrics of: “Stop. I told you not to ring that bell. You are in trouble now.” Could this mom be harvesting the fruit in her children’s lives of others raising her children while she is otherwise occupied?

Raising children who love the Lord Jesus with all their heart, are well-behaved, and academically prepared for life is more than a full-time job. It takes Mom wisely using structured/scheduled time all day in teamwork with you (Dad). I am saddened as I learn of moms who aren’t disciplined and scheduled in managing their time. Your child’s future is at stake.

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:7-8).

Looking Down the Road to Prepare Your Children

Almost twenty years ago, Steve wrote Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family. At that time, we had two sons who could provide for families, but they were not yet married while the other three were still young enough to be homeschooled. Now four of our five sons live that vision, providing for their wives and children and living in debt-free houses. The fifth can financially provide for a family and owns a debt-free house but is still single.

Spiritual Preparation

The message of preparing sons and daughters hasn’t changed. As parents, we want to be purposeful in preparing our children for mature adult life. That preparation comes in many areas. The most important is spiritually. Are you helping your children to have a relationship with Jesus that is based in the truth of His Word, that seeks His will in all aspects of their lives, is growing and dynamic, and follows Him obediently in glory and virtue? “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3). 

Good and Bad Appetites

Are you thinking through what you allow and don’t allow in your children’s lives and the appetites that might set in their hearts—good or bad—in their adult years? We will either give our children appetites for the fun and entertainment of the world or for ministering, working, and being productive servants of Christ. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). “I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints)” (1 Corinthians 16:15).

Productive Teens

Are you encouraging your children to learn and work through their teen years? How many young people play and text their way through some of their most productive years when they could be learning skills and starting businesses? “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8).

Servant’s Heart

Are you growing a heart in your children for serving and loving others as opposed to serving and loving self? “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). 

Step by Step

All of these areas don’t turn on with a magic switch at age 18. They start with our three-year-olds hearing and learning God’s Word in family Bible time, helping Mommy set the table, and doing sister’s chores when she is hurt. They move into the nine-year-old who reads his own Bible every day looking for God’s truth, who can make lunch by himself, and who rakes the widow’s leaves with Daddy. As a teen, that child studies the Word because he loves it. He prays and seeks the Lord’s direction. He has joy in his walk with Christ because it is a real relationship. He pushes back from the world—its looks, loves, and activities—rather than embracing it. He already has the beginnings of marketable skills that he is developing and is eager to learn more. He invests his time helping and serving others rather than pursuing his own entertainment and fun.

When to Start?

It is never too early or too late to consider these things and your desires for your children. Solomon asked several times in Proverbs for his son to give him his heart because Solomon had instruction he wanted to share with his son toward a godly and fruitful life. He was looking down the road to his son’s adult years. 

If you could use some encouragement or practical ideas in these areas, Preparing Sons and Buying a House Debt-Free are those resources. We recently released the audiobook of Buying a House Debt-Free, which is on special for $9.99 through August 16th. Preparing Sons is also an audiobook. Audiobooks are super convenient to listen to while driving or doing other activities where one has their hands occupied but not their minds. 

Don’t Be Disappointed

Those who have flown a fair amount likely have noticed something that has similitude worth considering in regard to parenting. Once airplanes take off, they are affected by the prevailing winds. If a headwind is encountered groundspeed will be lower, but if a wind from behind occurs, groundspeed will be boosted. 

It gets interesting when the wind is from either side, a crosswind. The direction the plane is heading must then be adjusted right or left to arrive at the desired destination. Many a disappointed pilot realized too late that he had not applied enough correction in route. 

Could that be like parents who are merely satisfied with outward conformance of their child’s behavior? There is a degree of obedience which looks like the child is heading in the right direction, but the child is hardened and merely avoiding consequences. He is “off-course” from the parents’ hearts and certainly not seeking to please the Lord Jesus.   

Parenting is hard, really hard, and that makes it tempting to settle for compliance. For the child’s future, always be looking at his heart. 

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life,” (Proverbs 4:23). 

Steve

Solid or Slack?

If your foot isn’t on the gas a millisecond after the traffic light has turned green, you are likely to hear horns behind you “encouraging” you to forward movement. Yet, we seem to be in a time of unprecedented, underwhelming forward movement of men for things that are worthwhile. Where are the Christ-led, responsible, diligent, dependable, hard working men?

Let there be travel for a football game, or early rise for deer hunting, and today’s man will be up at the crack of dawn. Yet, children are starving to death for men-of-God role models. These are men who are having their own Bible time to fellowship with their God early every day. They are men who couldn’t imagine not feeding their families the Word of God each evening. They are men who have a faith worth sharing and actually share it. 

Children need to see their dads as a solid example of life in Christ. Let us not be slack. Amen? “Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you?”(Joshua 18:3). The “land” is before us. God has given us children and a faith to share. Forward. 

Steve

Where Is It?

One thing I have learned about men is that at the end of the day, a man will have done or worked on what is most important to him. Food is the best example. Eating usually ranks near the top for most men, and I’m confident few go without food in a day, regardless of how busy they are. 

I plead with you to make your personal time with the Lord your first priority and next, your family Bible time. Our response (or reaction) to everything we face in life will depend on the closeness/quality of our relationship with the Lord Jesus. Whether your family is unstable or in the “strong tower” (Proverbs 18:10) greatly depends on your walk. (It’s a good thing our salvation doesn’t depend on our works, or who could be saved?) 

Dads, seek Him, delight in Him, and obey Him—all day, everyday. Where is your treasure: in this life or the Lord Jesus? “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning” (Luke 12:34-35).

Steve

Just How Committed?

Another Father’s Day is about here. The years click by, and we have one less year to influence the children living in our home. Has there been tangible growth in your life and children’s this past year? 

The time to influence their lives is diminishing with each day, each hour. Have you noticed that resolutions don’t work? Good intentions even less. It takes commitment, then execution.  

Are both hands to the plow? Is the cry of your heart, “Father, enable me to raise these children to love you with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength?” Dads, is that the way you live and love the Lord?

“…The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7).

Steve

Daily Bible Time Foundational for Families

Do you have a personal time in the Word daily? Do you also have family Bible time every day? If you spent a half hour each, that totals one hour a day in God’s Word. Why you are spending that much time reading the Bible? Might some think that is a little “over the top”? I’m confident that a lot today would think that extreme which is likely the reason why they don’t. 

Building Strong Lives in Christ

Aren’t we are in the Word because we value our God so much–the One Who died for our sins–that we want to spend that much time and more hearing what He wants to speak into our lives so that we can live it?  

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). 

Steve

If Only

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if being godly parents guaranteed godly children? I believe that most Christian parents consider themselves to be godly. Therefore, Christians go about their normal “godly” lives and expect their children to be godly, just like they are. 

Here’s an intriguing example illustrating the fallacy of our thinking that way. The very good king Hezekiah and the (believed-to-be) godly wife Hephzibah were responsible for bearing the most wicked king. Their son, Manasseh reined 55 years, the longest of all the kings.

I plead with you to make your most pressing focus—the cry of your heart—to be raising your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Don’t assume it will just happen.  

Brother, if that isn’t your lived-out passion, you are headed for a train-wreck of a heartbreak. Then it is too late. 

“Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hephzibah. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel” (2 Kings 21:1-2). 

Steve