Originally Published: 1-16-2018
Family is designed by God. Before the world began God was a family within Himself as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God was the perfect family all by himself. After man was created and sin entered the world, families came into existence among men, but they were sinful. We are all born with our own personal sin into a sinful family. So how do we parent in such a way that our children learn to value family in the midst of sin.
Make family about God
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:4-7
God needs to be made known to your family. He is made known when we begin to love him with our whole being as we are commanded. Children will notice if we love God and put him first in our lives. Children will watch but they will also listen. We need to be talking about God during our day so that it is evident he is the center of our family. When we talk about him, we should be giving him credit for the blessings in our family or for the comfort he gives in times of need. Are you hesitant to bring up God in a conversation? Do you seek to give him credit for your family? Are you aware of the blessings God is providing to you? The warning is that sometimes we get so focused on correcting our children, we forget they belong to God. Our family is about God.
Make family about others
“Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another,” 1 Thessalonians 4:9
God calls us to love one another. That includes sister, brother, father, mother, grandpa, grandma, etc. The people in our families are not the ones we always choose to love. We take them for granted or argue over silly things. We buy into the idea that it’s all right for children to fight in a family. We need to take the time to teach our children to love their family well. It’s beneficial to take the time to talk about how love shows itself in kindness. We should be training our children to be kind. One example of how to do that is to have love surprises. Make something for someone else or let them go first in a game or watch their favorite television shows. In other words, we teach our children to prefer another member of the family over themselves.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,” 1 Timothy 2:1
God also calls us to pray for one another. We need to teach our children about prayer but it needs to go beyond food, God bless, and please give me. We need to teach children to pray for others especially within their family. Children can make their prayer list which should include thanks to God, concerns for others, and then a need for themselves. When we begin to pray for others we will begin to value them more.
Make family a unit
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52
Jesus willingly came to earth to be born as a baby into an earthly family. He was submissive to his parents as he grew from a baby to a man. Jesus was part of his family as he ate, drank, and worked with them. This was before the internet and electronics, which can bring about many distractions from a family as a unit. Children disperse into different rooms with a different game system or computer having their meals alone. They spend time typing texts to friends they never met when their family is in the same house with them. We need to begin to be serious about our family unit. If we, as parents, don’t value the family enough to be together then how do we expect our children to value family? The family has to engage with one another in order to love one another, learn from one another, pray for one another, and speak to one another about God. Too many families today are divided except when they pass in the hallway on the way to the bathroom or kitchen. Are you encouraging your family to be a unit? Do you seek to spend time with your children?
Family is God’s idea! We’re called to cultivate our family into a unit that values God and each other.