Category Archives: Child Training

Are You The Problem?

Homeschooling is alive, well, and quite popular. Homeschoolers I have spoken with over the years want a better outcome for their children than other educational options offer. Not only is a better education desired (and generally achieved), but children, who upon completing their education, still have a strong faith in the Lord Jesus. 

Moms are usually the ones doing the majority of the planning, teaching, and grading, day-in-and-day-out. However, are you aware that you can be the one who effectively shipwrecks her investment with little effort on your part?  

Dads with poor and unsupportive attitudes can torpedo their children’s future. “How?” you ask. It is because Dad’s heart is generally impressed on the children’s hearts. What Dad loves, the children love, and what he dislikes, the children dislike. If Dad doesn’t care how well the children do in school, they aren’t going to apply themselves and will make it difficult for Mom. If Dad doesn’t have a heart for the Lord Jesus and isn’t serious about obeying Him, the children will be drawn to the world just like their father (you). 

I plead with you. Your income job is wood, hay, and stubble. Leading and discipling your family in the Lord Jesus is “gold, silver, and precious stones.” So many dads have it backwards. Brother, be dedicated to the work God has called you to do. 

“Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood have, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire: and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:12-13).

Your Answer

“Joey, I confess that your Grandpa was saddened about abortions, but that was a little like saying, ‘be warm and filled’ because I was doing nothing. We knew abortion was wrong, but like others, I used the excuse of ‘too busy,’ and besides I didn’t know what to do about it. Then one morning I was convicted while reading the passage “the land was polluted with blood” (Psalm 106:38). So I purposed that every time I prayed, I would pray that God would protect the unborn and unloved.”

“Then over time God moved in our hearts. We heard about Life Chain Sunday (1st Sunday in October, it’s the 6th this year) that promotes awareness of abortion across the nation. For one hour we joined others who stood along a designated road in our town and held pro-life signs and prayed. It was a start. We subscribed to pro-life newsletters so we were informed as to how to pray. We donated to pregnancy centers that helped pregnant women who had needs and chose to give their babies life. Over time we became even more involved.” 

“If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:14-17). 

Reserved

When you see a parking space right next to a business entrance labeled “Reserved for CEO” what do you think? 1) Nothing. 2) He’s top dog and deserves it. 3) Hopefully, that is yours one day. It is common practice when you reach the top of a company there are perks that go with the job.

Sadly, it is often mirrored in homes, and sadder yet, in professing Christian homes. Dad is the authority and he gets/requires the perks that go with it. He goes to bed when he wants to. He has his special treats. He watches/does what he wants to and others do the dishes. Ahhhhhh, what a life. 

“And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Are we living out Jesus to our family? Not putting on an act, but we have died to self, gotten out of the way so our family can see the Lord working through us? 

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Power

I reached for my belt, hung in its normal place and lifted–it didn’t budge. I resisted my natural tendency to tighten my grip on the belt, bear-down, and give it a strong pull to free it. My mind overruled my initial response. The buckle was caught on the wireframe shelf, and more force would not have been beneficial. What was necessary was a gentle repositioning of the buckle, and it immediately came free. 

Men (okay, and definitely teenage boys) have this natural tendency that if something isn’t responding quite right, get a bigger hammer, and apply more force. Eventually, we learn, sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t. The times it doesn’t work so well is in human relationships. 

Applying more force to tender, developing hearts may achieve outward compliance for a time, but is a fast-track for creating mere outward compliance which covers up a rebellious heart. Dads: slow, gentle, loving guidance is critical for developing hearts in our children that desire to obey our God and us as parents (in the nurture and admonition of the Lord).

“And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die” (Genesis 33:13).

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