When we had our first child, my mother-in-law gave us a book called Proverbs for Parenting by Barbara Decker. It’s a topical study on the book of proverbs as it applies to parenting. Ms. Decker separates the book into sections organized by category. Topics include Reverence for God, Godly Character, Self-Control, Wisdom & Instruction and so much more.
The book is introduced by quoting Deuteronomy 6:6,7 which says,
Deut 6:6,7 KJV
6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Ms. Decker quotes the KJV but I like how the Message version says it too:
Deut. 6:6,7 MSG
Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night.
The idea here is to infiltrate God’s word into our children’s lives.
The author goes on to point out that she noticed in her own parenting that correction and discipline sounded like “No.”, “Stop.” “Quit.” or “Don’t.” Instead of instructing her children with God’s word.
On page 2, in the introduction, She says,
If one of my boys dawdles in carrying out his task of taking the silverware out of the dishwasher and putting it in its proper place, I have the resource and option of teaching him a proverb about work, such as:
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth
her food in harvest.
And once I have instructed him with this proverb, perhaps later a simple reminder of the ant would suffice as encouragement…
Do you see what she’s saying? Instead of simply trying to control our kids’ behavior by nagging, demanding, and complaining, instructing with God’s Word is not only more practical, but it is more rewarding and a more meaningful form of correction that our kids may actually take to heart.
Easier said than done, I know. Here are a few ways to implement focusing on God’s Word from day to day:
1.) Take time in God’s word for yourself. How can we teach those under our care if we aren’t learning on our own? Join a Bible study, memorize scripture, listen to a sermon online, read a spiritually challenging book before bed. Whatever you can do to be in the Word and be challenged in your walk.
2.) Follow Deut. 6: Memorize scripture with your kids, encourage your kids with scripture, and discipline & correct with scripture.
3.) Pray that God would change your heart and the hearts of your children.
We are definitely just at the starting point. Trying to change our focus to scripture and not on what we need to do or or what was done wrong. If we focus on God’s Word, He’ll do the changing and convicting.