Visit any bookstore, and you’ll find an entire section devoted to parenting books. Confronted by such a wide choice, parents often randomly decide how they will rear their children because they recognize an author’s name or because someone recommends a book.
The Best Parenting Book Is Already in Most Homes
Many parents, even Christian parents, overlook the best parenting book ever written – the Bible. One of the key verses relating specifically to parenting, “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it,” (Proverbs 22:6) is both comforting and downright scary.
It’s comforting because it tells us if we train our children correctly, the results will be good and lasting. However, if we don’t train them in the way they should go, there are consequences. That’s the scary part. Even though no parent does everything right or everything wrong, all of us need guidelines and instruction. Parenting is a huge challenge for which we get no formal training, and we may not know for many years how we did.
All Children Test the Boundaries
Returning to the passage from Proverbs, the phrase “and when he is old” caught my eye. When I first studied the entire verse, I thought that if we do a good job, our children will be little angels. With experience (some very painful to me and them), I realized that our children often test the values we teach them before they accept them as their own. My children were like other children. They tested the boundaries constantly.
Rebellion Is Not a Sign of Parental Failure
It’s good to know that it’s normal for children to test their parents and the values they teach. Rebellion is not glaring proof of failure as a parent. It means that we must redouble our efforts to train our children in the way they should go. It also means that we can look forward to the day “when they are old,” and we can celebrate their return to what we taught.
The Reason for This Blog
I look back and see that some of what I taught was not what I intended, and some of what I didn’t teach was vitally important. I didn’t have the skills or the Biblical foundation that I needed. Now that I know how important it is to teach God’s way and to teach it intentionally, I am making it my life work to share with our current generation what I learned from hard experience. That’s why I blog.
Questions for You
A question for you: What have you found to be your best source of parenting advice? Do you see the Bible as a source? How do you use it? How do you choose other resources? Do you look to your parents for advice or parent in the same way they did?