Q: What are some tips you can give to help me raise my three children in a balanced, godly way?
A: Hi, Kelly, this is a great question. Parenting has changed much in recent years. Children now grow up in a “global media village” and engage with friends all over the world on social platforms that prove not only challenging but also add a new dimension to parenting. If you are a parent, take a few moments, if you can, and reflect on how you have or will transmit high values, ethics and morals to the next generation.
The Bible provides us with a number of insights on how to share values in order to grow well-balanced children. Here are a few:
Surround them with love. 1 John 4:8 says that God is love. In our busyness as parents, love can sometimes be the unspoken foundation of our relationship with children, which can be reduced in the busyness of soccer runs, homework schedules, the making of school lunches and so on. Love is evident in the many things that we do, but love also needs to ensure it is is verbalised and displayed regularly in the different love languages of the children—words of affirmation, time, gifts and physical touch. We need to intentionally slow family life and communicate not only our personal love but God’s unconditional love and reflect His character to our children.
Time. Today, most parents are time-poor. The traditional family of yesteryear has morphed and now in many cases both parents work or one parent holds multiple jobs while trying to balance family responsibilities. The gospel of Mark provides a clue to help us through the busyness. In Mark 10:14 Jesus said, “Let the children come to me and do not forbid them.” Jesus was a Man on a mission—busy preaching, people to heal, dead to give life to, crowds to feed—however, He intentionally slowed His demanding schedule to give time to that which He knew to be important in life. So look for ways to reclaim time from your week to enable you to spend time as a family and also individually with your children.
Actively engage. Because parents are so busy, tired or both, it is too easy to put children in front of a screen while we do other activities or rest. How we engage or choose to fill these loose moments directly impacts our ability to transmit godly values. Deuteronomy 6 says, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up.” The Bible encourages us to surround the life of the child with a godly example and talk often of the values that are important to you and your family.
Explore. Children, regardless of age, are social creatures and desire engagement and interaction. Explore how as a family you can demonstrate and apply the values you desire to instil. Acts 10:2 provides a unique insight into a biblical family: “He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.” You will note that several things about raising balanced, godly families are encased in this verse. First, they were together and committed in their faith to God. Second, this faith informed their activities so that they gave generously to those in need. I find it interesting that the Bible paints a picture of their activities as a family not just the activity of the father. Look for ways that you can as a family explore activities together that will assist you as a parent to transmit life-changing values and grow life-transforming children.
There are many parenting styles—supportive, non-supportive, high control, low control, authoritative, permissive. Your parenting style will directly impact the shape of your family and the next generation.
So, Kelly, share with your partner and talk openly with your children, speak and learn from other parents, evaluate the things that have worked as well as those that didn’t, so that each day you are intentionally working towards growing well-balanced children and bringing them into a living connection with God.
Every month, our Discovery Bible correspondence school instructors, Wayne Boehm, Charissa Fong and Sharon Martin, delve into the Bible to answer some of life’s and Christianity’s deeper questions.