Years ago, when Casey was pregnant with Squiggles, I began a study on Biblical parenting. I cracked open my Life Application Bible and looked up parenting in the back and started my notes.
Then we miscarried, and I set the notes aside.
With Samuel here now, I finished the notes while on leave, along with essential proverbs I think Sam should know. (Seriously, he’ll learn all of them.)
The thing about the Bible is it has commands and lessons from bad examples. I’ve heard you obey the New Testament and learn what not to do from the Old Testament.
For example, kids learn from copying their parents. I don’t remember what my parents said (other than dad’s “think before you speak”), but I do remember what they did.
Abraham’s son, Isaac, copied his dad and lied about his wife being his sister so he wouldn’t get killed (Genesis 12:13).
That doesn’t mean we don’t teach. Proverbs 1:8 and Numbers 30:3-8 calls for that. Dad gave me advice, and I either listened or didn’t. Even as an adult. I had a water heater leak that dad warned me to fix or it would fall through the floor.
I didn’t, and it did. That was an expensive fix that prepared me for other broken water heaters in the future. By the way, I hate plumbing.
Since it is the Bible, we’ll have to teach it to them. We have a “sanitized” storybook from the Bible. I’m going to focus on Proverbs for sure in the formative years.
Parents cannot pass the buck to the church on teaching their kids. It has to be taught and modeled in the home.
Another thing is to share spiritual experiences in the family with your kids. In Israel, they were always putting up markers and altars and naming them to commemorate something God did. The Jewish calendar is set up with feasts that retell the story of God and Israel every year.
On the Love Like You Mean It cruise this year, Jeff Bethke taught that it was the best way
to reach your kids for Jesus. I held Sam in the hospital while Casey slept, and I couldn’t think of anything to say.
So I told him my story and the story and prayer of how he got here and why he was named Samuel. As the years go on, the account will grow with him included in it more and more.
You could be a prophet of God and the leader of a nation and still have bad kids. Samuel’s namesake had two kids named Joel and Abijah who were appointed to lead by their dad.
1 Samuel 8:1-3 said, “But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.”
In my notes, I wrote, “If as an adult, Samuel isn’t following God, realize I can’t control him any longer. Don’t blame myself if I did my job in training him. So long as Sam is still in my care, know that what we do and teach can profoundly affect Sam and last a lifetime.”
I think most kids stray in their 20s as they try to find themselves independent of their parents.
Paul wrote to the churches in Ephesus and Colossae that “Fathers, don’t exasperate your children, or they will become discouraged, instead bring them up in the training of the Lord.” Genesis 18:19 tells us that means by doing what is right and just.
In my notes, I wrote, “Parents should care gently for their children, even if Sam is disobedient and unpleasant.” I love the Boundaries series of books by Cloud and Townsend, buying the one for kids just for Sam.
We can’t ignore our kids’ sins because we all lack boundaries. The Biblical Samuel’s father figure, Eli, ignored his kids’ sins, and they died because of it. We already talked about Samuel’s kids. King David’s poor handling of his kids’ sins led to rape, murder, and rebellion (twice).
If we ignore Sam’s sins, it will lead to higher pain than if it is dealt with immediately. I like what Cloud and Townsend said about raising kids: you’re training them to be adults.
Or like this hilarious meme puts it: