When Parenting Gets Discombobulated

Share Now

The Bible passage at the end of my post for yesterday was this:

My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.
Proverbs 3:1-2

As I proofread the post, I was struck with a simple, but profound reality. This parent was teaching his child.

When referring to mamas like you, I sometimes use the expression “mothers who teach their children at home.” Once, when I had used that description in our Wednesday morning ladies’ Bible class, one of the ladies (I’ll call her Louise) pointed out to me after class that I have often used that expression and that she thought it was inaccurate because all parents teach their children at home.

My first feeling was mortification that I had inadvertently offended Louise, who is one of my greatest encouragers in class. Of course, I acknowledged that good parents do teach their children at home, whether they homeschool or not.

Alaskan Nuviak Mother and Child, c. 1929. Courtesy Library of Congress.
Alaskan Nuviak Mother and Child, c. 1929. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Using Proverbs 3:1-2 in my post yesterday prompts me to think some more about “mothers who teach their children at home.” The wise parent in Proverbs:

  • thought through what he wanted to teach his child,
  • taught the lessons, and then
  • encouraged his child not to forget them.

The parent in Proverbs also told his child: “Keep my commandments.” Sometimes the idea of giving a child “commandments” is intimidating to us mamas because we feel inadequate and unworthy. God has given us a solution to that. If we stick to teaching our children His commandments, we can be confident that those commandments are perfect. We can also be confident in our follow-through, because if God said they should behave in a certain way, we know they absolutely should behave that way.

Of course, children also need to be told to do some things that are not spelled out exactly in the Bible, things like: “come here right now” (because there is a car coming) or “go to sleep right now” (because the family is leaving for an outing at 7 a.m.). These are still commandments a child must obey, because God tells children to obey their parents. Giving these kinds of commandments, hearing them, and making the decision to obey them are based on trust that grows over time, as children learn to trust God and to trust Mama and Daddy.

I once heard a speaker encourage mamas to save their “no’s.” By that she meant that mamas shouldn’t make a big deal about things that aren’t really all that important. I think the concept of parental authority and child obedience gets discombulated (that was one of my word-loving daddy’s favorite words) sometimes because parents insist on rules that are not directly commands of God and rules that are not necessary for the physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional health of their children.

The wise parent:

  • teaches a child God’s commands and makes sure that child obeys them;
  • gives a child appropriate commands and makes sure that the child obeys them, and
  • refrains from giving a child commands that are unnecessary.

A child’s obedience to parents is essential.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord,
for this is right.
Ephesians 6:1

A parent’s obedience to Colossians 3:21 is essential, too.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children,
so that they will not lose heart.
Colossians 3:21

Share Now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *