In recovery meetings I often hear people say, "I didn't want to end up like my parents, but I did. I have the same bad habits, and attitudes. I yell at the kids like my mom, I isolate like my dad...I'm just like they were." Each time I hear this, (keep in mind these are recovering alcoholics and drug addicts), there is remorse, and expressed self-disdain by the speaker. The common denominator that runs from speaker to speaker is that the parents all seemed to be unprepared to parent. It's as though children are raising children. I think I have been paying much attention to this lately since my grandson Christian (Becka) made me a great-grandfather at 55, my step-son John (Bayleigh) brought a child into the world, and my son Jake (Lauren) is expecting any day. This goes along with the 6 bundles of joy we already have. (Judy is a great- granny at 40!) We are really blessed and grateful to God for each child.
I noticed that with these gifts from God that the parents of each spent alot of time in choosing names that they felt were unique for their child. Of course, I did the same, spending days thinking about how to set my children apart from other kids, and make them special with their names. As it turned out, by the time they were born, there was dozens of Sara's, Aaron's, and Jacob's. Wow, I thought taking their names from the Bible would be something no one else thought of...naive huh? My thoughts today is not directed toward giving children a name, though this is important, but teaching them to make a name.
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather
than siver or gold. Prov.22:1
Train up a child the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart
from it. Prov.22:6 (NKJV)
If I would have had the smallest inkling that choosing a name was secondary to learning something about parenting, it may have made a huge difference in the children's future. But I didn't. So I think, I'll just make sure that I pass this information on to my children so they will take my DEEP understanding, and raise their kids with a understanding of what is important...not so. Our own children have the tendency to believe someone's words, though they may not even know that person, rather than their wise old parents. All of the experience we have, the knowledge we have gained, is useless when passing that wisdom onto our own children. That is if...we waited until they were adults to pass that knowledge to them. If we begin teaching them about life and living from their early childhood, they will accept those valued lessons we have learned as great treasure. We can make a difference in their future that is positive, and fruitful.
It takes effort to train up a child. You have to learn how to parent first. Parenting is not screaming, yelling, threatening, or bossing. Parenting is patience, understanding, listening, learning, and really loving. Teaching a child integrity, prudence, giving them a basis for faith in God, is what really matters. Teaching them how to play baseball, soccer, and golf are things that are fun and we enjoy watching them become good atheletes, but living skills are far more important. Mothers and fathers can teach children by never arguing in front of them. We can all learn to be better spouses. So how do we learn?
Two things are vital to the follower of Christ. Prayer and Proverbs. Asking God for wisdom to raise your children, for wisdom to be a better spouse, is the first step in bettering ourselves. Reading the Proverbs brings godly knowledge into parenting...if you read it, believe it, and apply it. Look at the book of Proverbs as though God, your Father, is teaching you directly. Many times in Proverbs, they start with, listen to my words, hear what I'm saying to you, apply your heart to understand. Seek wisdom, get knowledge, ask for understanding, and really taking these words of wisdom as truth and the way to live, changes your desire to force what you think is the way to parent, into the way God wants you to parent.
Now back to what I was saying at the beginning. Do you want your children to turn out like you? Do you want to steer them away from a life of addictions? Those dear recovering addicts/alcoholics trying to stay sober have a major road block in doing so from their upbringing in a dysfunctional home. Don't allow that to happen. Take the time to learn and study parenting, ask God for wisdom. Family movie night is great, but mommy talking to daughter about being a woman is better. Daddy taking his little boy to fish is marvelous, daddy showing his son how to kneel and pray is far better. Doing these things, doing them with regularity, will change their life and their ability to raise your grandchildren.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith