Category Archives: Child Training

Inward or Outward?

Where is your focus? Our minds are amazing in that they are always busy thinking about something. The question is, what are you primarily focused on? Just like driving a car, you will steer toward what you focus on. Colossians 3 tells us to set our hearts and minds on things above. Obviously, every thought cannot be on things above, but what is the driving desire of your heart; money, pleasure, entertainment, a hobby, your job, your family’s growth in Christ?

Now what is scary is that the desire of our hearts will become the desire of our children’s hearts. Jesus said, “the lusts of your father you will do.” Even if we do not live out the desire of our hearts but have a degree of outward conformity to “religious stuff,” our children will embrace what goes on in our mind. Look around you; we see it all the time. Andrew Murray said it plainly, “Be what you want your children to be.” (What a guy!)

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)


Hairy Teeth

Have you ever had a time when you haven’t been able to brush your teeth for a while, and they felt grimy, cruddy, or even hairy? If you weren’t in the good habit of brushing your teeth, then having hairy teeth would feel normal. For most of us, however, teeth brushing is due to the diligence of our mother’s training (okay hounding). Good habits don’t come naturally, but when acquired they are a lifelong blessing.   

Over the years many have written and asked if they should require their children to read the Bible daily. Here’s a question for you. In light of eternity, which do you think is a more important habit— brushing your teeth or reading your Bible every day? The answer is ridiculously obvious. Reading one’s Bible every day is critical to our wellbeing and our future.

Scripture shines God’s lamp into our souls and exposes the things that God wants to change or remove and feeds our souls for real life in Christ. Our souls must be so dependent on our daily cleansing and filling via the Word of God that we feel odd and uncomfortable if we haven’t had our time in the Word.

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” (Psalm 119:9)

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105) 


Not Just a Good Idea

I have watched my married sons and their wives work patiently with their children to teach them to be grateful. It is amazing what persistence it takes to make progress against the selfishness of the flesh, and oh how delightful it is to hear sweet little “Thank yous.” First we teach a child to be grateful to those around him who bless him. Then he needs to learn to thank God, Who is the giver of all good gifts, and Who cannot be seen.

We all enjoy being around grateful people, but those who are ungrateful tend to weigh us down. Are we dads setting the example for gratitude in the family? Are we looking for things others in the home do so we can share our gratefulness with them? It is one thing to say “thank you” and quite another to express why we are grateful for what they did.

Who would have thought how absolutely foundational being thankful can be even to a person’s eternity? “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful.” (Romans 1:21)


Highly Damaging Words

I have to wonder if some of the most damaging words to homeschooling and children’s futures I’ve ever heard are, “If the children aren’t having fun learning, they will grow up without a love of learning.” That is used as justification for requiring that learning must be fun. Sadly, might the two most common results of so-called “fun learning” be: wearing Mom out and the children’s not be willing to learn unless it is fun.

I plead with you dads for the sake of your children’s future not to buy into this “learning must be fun” mistruth. If learning has to be fun, what does that mean about learning Scripture? Do we only read Scripture because it is fun and not read it because it isn’t fun? Since Scripture isn’t fun to read, could that mean children raised this way will have no desire to read the Bible as they get older?

We exercise because of the health benefits, and we learn because of the value of learning. We apply ourselves. We learn to enjoy our “brain sweating” and loving the feeling of accomplishment as we learn and grow not because it is “fun.”PS down

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)


Helicopter Parenting

When a parent “hovers” over his child, we call it helicopter parenting. Others might call that child-centered parenting. Sadly, it confirms to the child that the world actually DOES revolve around him or her. We are all born thinking that; helicopter parenting just confirms it.

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3)


Dad – The Linchpin

How important am I to my family? If I were gone forever out of the family, would they be better or worse off? Am I just a paycheck? (The government can provide that.) Do I drive my family to church? (That is good, but many churches have busses for that.) Am I a friend? (That’s good, too, but pets provide great companionship.)

The paycheck is only a means to fulfill my primary job of leading and discipling. I take them to church BUT more importantly I lead them as an example of life in Christ and in God’s Word daily during family Bible time.

My ability to disciple my children is proportionate to my relationship with them. Far more important than being their friend is my being their earthly father who loves, invests, admonishes, and leads them in following our Lord Jesus. The quality of their lives depends on it. How purposeful in setting direction, how committed and how actively am I discipling my children in a relationship with Jesus Christ? Would they miss that if I were gone?

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)



Some things are rare today:

  • Diamonds
  • Platinum
  • Gold
  • Commitment
  • Honor
  • Punctuality
  • Purity
  • Diligence
  • Initiative
  • Self-control

Scarcity makes things valuable because they are rare.

Some things are rare because they are hard to find or costly to produce.

Others we choose to make rare or scarce because they are inconvenient to the flesh. Improvement is a choice — a really good one for us and our children.

“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour” (Proverbs 3:13-16).



I remember being at a swimming pool as a child when someone twice my size got upset and grabbed me and held me under water. After a while my lungs burned and screamed for air.

Have you ever had a similar experience? If so, then you can especially appreciate how serious God is in Matthew 18:6 about causing someone to stumble. “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

This verse should be terrifying to a dad who might cause his child to stumble. Fathers, whom God holds especially accountable for raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), are often the very ones who cause their own children to stumble, to doubt, or to seek after the world.

We can do this through:

  • bad or careless decisions
  • things we may bring into the home
  • what we allow our children to watch on media
  • what we allow them to participate in


Who’s Best?

When the children are young, it isn’t too difficult for Dad to do things better than they can do them. As they grow older, though, it becomes more difficult for Dad to keep the advantage … until finallyCCI2014-1 the day comes when they can do some things better! It can take adjusting to, but, trust me, that is a good day.

When it comes to following the Lord Jesus Christ, however, loving Him, serving Him, striving to please Him, may Dad continue to be best. If our children do surpass us, may it not be because we have let go or stumbled or lost our edge spiritually. Rather, may it be because they have seen our walk with Jesus and have committed to having all of Jesus that they can have because they have seen how good Jesus is for Dad. If that is why they surpass us, well then, we can die in peace because, Brothers, that is what it is all about.

“And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” (2 Kings 2:9)

Happy Father’s Day!


Dad: Leader and Limiter

Some dads want to lead but seldom say no. Some say no but seldom yes. One aspect of being a good leader is being a good limiter, who knows what boundaries to set—and when. As one leads there will come times when it is necessary to limit by placing boundaries, such as saying, “You can’t do this because I love you, and I want God’s best for you.”

It is possible that the child being led will not agree with it and may disobey. In this case, the limiter must be willing to administer some appropriate form of consequence. A boundary really isn’t a boundary unless there is a consequence for violating it, and “don’t do it again” doesn’t count. Many should read that last sentence again.

Being a limiter is less popular than being a leader and opens a leader up to criticism, but limiting is a necessary part of being a leader. (Frankly, being a leader is not always popular either.) I cannot lead effectively if I am not willing to limit. Good leaders are not afraid of placing appropriate boundaries around those they love and are leading.

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)