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What is your authority role as a parent? I really thing Tedd Tripp puts it well in his book Shepherding a Child’s Heart in the introduction.
He starts off by pointing out some parents don’t actually want to be parents (they do it because they “should”) and some parents think quality time is good enough (it isn’t).
Some of these parents, along with others who love being parents and spend lots of quantity time with their children, “live in mortal fear of adolescence. Parents of teens continually remind them their day is coming” (page xviii). Sidebar, I remember when I was 11-12 and people would ask me constantly if I was going to be a good teenager or not. Or they would comment on what a great teenager they thought I would be. I mean, constantly. I was so confused by it all. Why wouldn’t I be a good teenager? And I think I was an awesome teenager, for the record.
We don’t need to fear “the teenage years.” The trick is figuring out the right balance for authority. We should be kind. We should look to Christ as the ultimate example of how to be an authority. Christ served those he was in authority over, and He was willing to lay His life down.
We, as parents, have a charge to be an authority for our own children. Now for one of my favorite points in the entire book:
“You must require obedience of your children because they are called by God to obey and honor you. You must exercise authority, not as a cruel taskmaster, but as one who truly loves them” (page xx).
I had never thought of teaching children to obey in that light before. Teach them to obey because they are commanded to obey. I think that is a great thing to keep in mind as we are training our children.
We will talk more about this idea of you having authority later as we discuss this book. For now, focus on the idea of you having authority over your children and looking to the ultimate example of that. Lead like Christ lead. Also, teach your children to obey in order to help them fulfill their commandments. Let’s parent by love, not fear.
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