Be a Thinking Parent
As a parent I am challenged by the following verse.
Proverbs 27vs 23,24 says “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks. And attend to your herds; for riches are not forever nor does a crown endure to all generations.”
Solomon is talking in this section of scripture about being prepared for what is ahead. As a king he had flocks and herds. He had riches as his blessings. He had a crown of authority. Me, I am a mum so I have tried to glean wisdom into my situation from this wise King, Solomon. Be prepared is what he said. I want to be prepared in my parenting. Lets look at this scripture with a mothering twist….
Be diligent to know the state of your family.
Attend to your children,
for they are not around forever and your days of authority are limited.
To me this encourages me to get in and learn about my children so I can comfortably say “I know the state of my family." It encourages me to be there for my children and to attend to their needs – daily. It encourages me to love and serve my children as I train them as I see how short our days together really are.
Our children grow so quickly. It seems only such a short time ago that Josh was a toddler playing in a huge sandpit made from a tractor tyre, that Jess was a giggly baby. How quickly the years have passed since Nomi was sick and she has had so much pain to deal with. How short the years have been with Daniel growing up as my “baby”! Have we used these years wisely? I certainly want to make sure that I use the next 10-15 years wisely.
Some key words from that scripture reading - be diligent, know, attend.
Diligent - hard working, steady in application, industrious, attentive to duties
Know - to recognize, identify, and be aware of, to be versed in
Attend - turn the mind to, apply oneself to, be present, wait upon, escort, accompany
Therefore we are to be hardworking, consistent and industrious in getting to a place where we can recognize, and identify in the condition of our family. We are to turn our mind to, apply ourselves, wait upon, be with our children because they are not around forever and our days of authority are limited.
For this to happen we really need to become a thinking parent. We cannot afford to go merrily along, dealing with each situation as it arises, making on the run decisions about the moral development of our children, being caught unawares about the academic challenges facing our children, and suddenly realising our children don’t know how to pray!
- Do you know the state of each of your children?
- Do you know where their hearts are at with God?
- Do you know where their relationship is at with you?
- Do you know where their relationship is at with their siblings?
- Do you know their little personalities along with the strengths and weakness?
- Do you know their level of responsibility? And how to motivate them to achieve more?
- Do you know their desires and their fears?
There is so much to know about each little person. How are you scoring?
Parenting is hard work. We all know that when the baby arrived no manual was in the box! But do we know that it is hard, industrious work. It isn’t a quick feed here and a lick behind the ears to keep clean there! It is hard, continual work. Work means to carry out bodily or mental efforts. We need to be putting our physical bodies into our parenting (we need to be there with our kids) and we need to put our mental capacities to work as well.
Parenting is a full time job - A full time job is defined by the hours and responsibilities carried by the jobholder. Parenting is a job that requires hours, commitment, research, and training- like many other jobs. Along with this job come responsibilities that can’t be shed on the weekend or in the evenings. It is full time in its truest sense. Why is it that we are so prepared to study in order to earn an income but we are reluctant to put in the hours when it comes to something more eternal - our children’s hearts?
I hope I have shown you the importance of thinking…but what does being a thinking parentlook like? Remember back to my questions about the state of your family. Being able to answer those questions puts you in a place where you can say, “I am starting to know the state of my family”. Before you can do anything with that knowledge you need to think about what principles you and your family are going to live by, where do you want your family to go, how are you going to get there? These are fairly hard questions but there are rewards in thinking this through.
If you have to think something through, look at it, research it, study it, you will come to a conclusion that is more likely to be owned by you than if you just accepted and followed something you heard once. We need to own the principles we want our children to live by. They need to be yours - not mine but yours. You need to understand the principles you are talking about, the principles you desire to live by. They need to become yours - in your heart, in your life before you can train your children in these things.
Once you know what principles you are going to live by, where you are going to go and how you are going to get there then this is when your thinking pays off. As you go through life you will receive heaps of advice, read lots of material, see lots of examples but you have to be in control of how all this information influences your family.
We teach our children to know the “moral reason why” behind our instructions and the reason for this is that they begin to think about God’s truth and decide for themselves to follow it. Becoming a thinking parent knows the moral reason why your family is like it is, why you want certain things for each of your children. Do you know why your family does the things they do?
The answer to this tricky question has to lay in your thinking. I cannot answer that for you. I can answer it for my family – the moral reason why we have a routine in our family is because we believe that God is a God of order and we are to be like Him. The reason we monitor what music we listen to in our house is because we believe God is a God of peace and He would have our home be a place of Peace and we will protect that peace. I could go on with such examples.
When you become a thinking parentyour training will become effective, worthwhile and long lasting. Remember back to Solomon’s’ words – our time with our children is limited. We have to do a good job while we can. Why just treat the symptoms – get to the disease – get to their hearts. Train their hearts in the principles don’t just mould their behaviour.
Being a thinking parent gives you the security that your family has its own identity. You don’t have to be like any other one family. What are the principles that drive your family to be who they are? Think about it!
Live life with your kids!
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