How Everyday Moms and Dads Influence the Future

22 12 2011

For one of my classes in seminary I wrote a paper inspired by the Biblical passage in Exodus 20:5-6 and repeated in Deuteronomy 5:9-10, which says,

…I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

I asked myself the question, being a dad of three young children, “How does what I do affect my kids and their future kids down through the generations?” So for all dads and moms, the questions that arise from this passage are extremely urgent. If how I brush my teeth affects future generations, how much more so will the way I treat my wife, work at my job and love my God! And if there is an affect, what kind of affect is it? How severe is it? How lasting? Then also, how important is it that I make very intentional decisions right now about how I live my life and raise my kids, because it will dramatically alter the course of history!? Our sin does have profound penalties on future generations, but do not be crushed by this thought. Rather, relish in the wonderful reward for those who love God: steadfast, unbreaking and forever love in everlasting covenant friendship with God!

If you’re up for it I challenge you to read the research paper I put together in the attached pdf. Doing so may shakeup the course of your life and future family history in incredible ways! While it will require some serious thought, the process will deepen your commitment to God and your family’s future legacy.

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The Big List of Consequences

9 11 2011

Consequences and discipline are necessary and helpful for any parent who seeks to help their child grow up to be a responsible person who makes great choices. Below is a big list of consequences from about.com for your tool belt. But keep in mind the difference between behaviour modification and Biblical correction. As Godly parents, we don’t want plastic children who comply with our wishes. We want children who’s hearts are transformed by the love and power of God through Jesus Christ. Make that your prayer as you discern how you use consequences to shape your child’s heart.

 

The Big List of Consequences.

 





Behaviour Modification or Biblical Correction?

30 07 2011

I’ve been thinking about my use of consequences as I parent and lead children. Consequences are a powerful motivator for making right choices and avoiding the wrong. So they are needed for guiding children.

However, there is a word of caution for relying solely on consequences. Relying on them is merely behaviour modification. This is actually damaging because simply changing behaviour is self-reliant and exterior. As parents who believe in and follow Jesus we know that we cannot save ourselves or grow our character apart from his redeeming and sanctifying work. We are not self-reliant, but Christ-reliant. And the way Christ works is by transforming the heart not putting a vain polish on our appearance.

We reap what we sow. If you plant a fern you will grow a fern. Likewise, if you sow anger you will reap anger. So as parents we can help children recognize the implications of their choices with appropriate consequences.

Tedd and Margy Tripp have written a book called Instructing a Child’s Heart. In it, I came across a quote that provides a solid distinction between the worldly approach to parenting called behaviour modification and the Godly approach they call biblical correction. They write,

“We do not depend on consequences to alter behavior. We want to train the heart of the child. In behavior modification, consequences are the means of shaping or manipulating behavior. In biblical correction and discipline, consequences are a means of demonstrating, in a sensory way, the importance of the spiritual consequences that are accruing in relationship to God, to others and to ourselves.”

Therefore, communication is vital for parenting. We can’t slap down consequences and expect children to turn out right. We have to do the hard work of explaining what Christ wants to accomplish in our hearts. The consequences are a way to help make that conversation happen.

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Coach Carter and Discipline for Parents

2 09 2010

As a young dad, I’m always looking for ways to improve my fathering. Discipline is tough. I want my kids to grow up with mature character. Now, my frame of reference, when I say I want my kids to have mature character, is God’s standards as recorded in Scripture. However, this blog is not about the goal of Christ-like character as much as it is about effective principles for reaching that goal.

The movie, Coach Carter, is a case study in turning around a group of broken teens. Their family units are fractured. Their neighbourhood is disjointed. Their school system is faltering. Coach comes in with a very difficult situation and takes them through rigorous drills to bring them to a sense of respect for themselves, each other and authority.

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