Tim shared his parenting tips in the last post. Mine draw from years in the classroom with elementary school students. Here they are:
1. Teach and model the importance of manners early in your child’s life. I have seen a lot of rude kids and wondered why they hadn’t learned how to say “please” and “thank you.” They frequently interrupt others, even adults. It makes me wonder how they will fare in relationships later in life.
2. Go to the best Father in the whole universe for parenting advice–God. His parenting book is found in His Word, the Bible. Two helpful passages come to mind.
a. Proverbs 22:6 is a great verse for parents: “Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are older, they will not depart from it.” Another translation reads: “Direct your children onto the right path and when they are older they will not leave it.”
b. Fill their life with the fruits of the Holy Spirit by modeling the following traits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
3. Teach your children to read the Bible, to love God, and how to have a personal relationship with Him. Model that behavior. I’ve heard it said that God doesn’t have any grandchildren. Each of us must decide for ourselves what we believe about God. So, expose them to God through a Bible-believing church, a vibrant youth group, and your own faith. Pray for and with your children throughout their lives.
4. My dad used to say, “Doing things you don’t want to do helps develop character.” That is so true. It shouldn’t be all fun and games in childhood. Don’t torture your kids, but don’t sugarcoat their developmental years either by making everything fun and easy. We need to struggle and suffer in some things in life to learn perseverance and to build character. A butterfly must push its wings and struggle out of the cocoon in order to be able to fly later. If someone “helps” it by opening its cocoon, baby butterfly may never fly.
5. Limit time in front of the television and other electronic devices. Face-to-face relationships are so important. You can’t learn to communicate by being a coach potato. Giving your child opportunities to grow and learn from experience, not from virtual reality, would be the best way to make memories that last a lifetime.