Why do we teach and discipline our children? Is it because childishness is annoying? Is it because they make us look bad at Walmart when they’re begging for candy and throwing a tantrum? 🙂 Is it to make our own lives easier or more convenient? Or is there a greater purpose? Are we convicted (do we firmly believe) that there is a purpose to this parenting journey? Now that we’ve established a plan for healthy communication (see yesterday’s post!), we can work on our family convictions.
When Jesus was asked what the GREATEST commandment was, He answered with, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
We established two main family convictions from this Biblical principle, and while they’re really quite simple, it is so helpful to know what our end goal in parenting truly is. It really isn’t a more pleasant Walmart experience, right? 🙂
Here’s the two main things we want for our children:
- We want them to love God. This principle encompasses all of our religious teaching. We want them to love God, His Word, and His people, so we base many of our family decisions around these ideas. For instance, we never complain to our children about people in ministry because we want them to learn to respect God’s servants. We never use God as a threat in our parenting (“God is so angry at what you just did.” or “God hates your sin.”), because God is not sitting in heaven waiting for our children to slip up so He can beat them over the head. Our children need to be continually reminded of God’s unfailing love, mercy, and grace. We must engage them with the need for the gospel in their lives!
- We want them to love others. Loving others is our second goal for our children. This principle encompasses qualities like respect, compassion, generosity, kindness, and unselfishness. This conviction is demonstrated to our children in practical ways, like paying for the car behind us in a drive-thru, or stopping to help a stranded driver on the side of the road. It is shown when we serve our children, meeting their needs before ours, but also by the sacrifices we make to bless someone else. Share with your children when you slip cash into the hand of a visiting missionary or pastor, or when you prepare a meal for a sick friend. Let them see you acting out your love to them and others.
Sadly, there are many selfish adults who have never learned to love others—our nature is to love ourselves, isn’t it? Loving others first begins in the home. We love our children unconditionally, they learn reciprocate that love and begin to love each other, then as they grow older, they see the need for loving those outside their family circle. It is a beautiful thing. (Although not always easy–loving “me” is always easier!)
Why is it important to have family goals and convictions? Everything runs smoother with a plan in place. We can easily and quickly lead little hearts back to these two truths–“Does that show love for God?” or “Does that show love for others?” We can build our parenting philosophy, not out of convenience, or embarrassment, but out of our convictions.
What about you? What are your convictions regarding your home?
Today’s Challenge: Gather your family and review your family convictions. Establish some convictions if you haven’t ever done so. Perhaps make a printable sheet to hang in a visible location so everyone can be reminded of your family’s goals!