REMEMBERING NOT TO FORGET

We’ve always tried to encourage our kids (to the point of nagging, unfortunately) to prepare their stuff the night before so that the next morning, they won’t get stressed preparing for school… especially because it’s early in the morning.

This morning, as I drove my kids to school, right when we pulled up at the school’s driveway, one them told me that a math book was forgotten and left at home.  The easiest thing to do is to be a super daddy, come to rescue by going home and bringing it to school.  Or… why not have our driver get it and pick it up.  That’s why we got one for emergencies like these, right?  Not really.

Well, my child might get a zero for this homework but I believe that would be one of the biggest lessons our children can learn.  I know you might be thinking, “what a monster dad!”  But learning consequences is one of the biggest lessons we can teach our children.  We cannot always rescue because that’s not how life works often enough.

There were times I’ve driven home to get something and bring it to school to illustrate grace and relate it with the grace of God in our lives.  But that’s few and far in between.

Teaching responsibility and realizing the consequences of being the opposite is a great lesson to learn early in life.

A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance. Blessed is the man who reveres God, but the man who doesn’t care is headed for serious trouble. Proverbs 28: 13-14

ONE OF THE SADDEST VERSES IN THE BIBLE

As I was reading this morning, I read a verse that would seem to me to be one of the saddest verses in the Bible.

Samuel was one of the greatest prophets during the Old Testament.  He served as Israel’s judge for many years (1 Samuel 7:15-17).  In fact, he was the one who anointed Israel’s first King.

He had so many accomplishments as the nation’s judge and prophet.

However…

“… his sons did not walk in his ways.  They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.” (1 Samuel 8:3)

I cannot exchange ministry success with failure in the home.  It won’t be right to sacrifice family in the altar of success.  I cannot.  We should not.  There’s just no comparison.

I told our staff yesterday at Victory Fort that as a pastor, I am not indispensable.   There are lots who can replace me with what I do for the church – better, smarter and more gifted guys.  But as a husband and father, there’s just no replacement.  My kids will only have one dad.  If the time comes that I’ll have to choose between my family and the church (which I hope will never come), I’m outta here.

You guys know me.  I’m a ‘whatever-it-takes’ kind of guy.  I will do whatever it takes to advance the kingdom of God.  But between ministry success and family, there’s really just no competition at all.

TEACHING SELF-DISCIPLINE

One of our goals as parents is that the older our kids get, the less control we exercise over them.  Time will come that we won’t be there with them 24/7.  We won’t and we can’t.

Therefore, as early as now, one of the things I need to teach my kids is to teach them self-discipline.

Self discipline is saying no to foolish behavior so that he can say yes to the plans and purposes God has for his life.

Our goal as parents is that our kids will eventually become their own disciplinarian.
Here’s how Steve Farrar puts it on raising self-disciplined kids, particularly boys:

  • A self-disciplined son learns to control his emotions and drives.  In other words, he can put a cap on his anger and exercise control in his sex life.
  • A self-disciplined son respects authority, even when he doesn’t agree with it.
  • A self-disciplined son grasps the value of future reward over immediate gratification.
  • A self-disciplined son has learned to see outside his own little world of his own needs.  In fact, he sees it as his honor and duty to sacrifice to meet the needs of those he loves.
  • A self-disciplined son is a self-starter.  He doesn’t need his mom to get him up every morning so that he won’t be late for his senior English class.

Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives. (Prov. 19:18, NLT)

PARENTING PITFALL: Tolerance

Tolerance is a dangerous word, especially when it comes to parenting.
It has become a parenting pitfall to many and I am no exception.

When my son was about three, he loved spending his energy by running and jumping all around the place. This was carried over even when we were in church. He would run around and jump off the stage. After a few instances, one of our leaders sat me down and said, “Paolo, you are a great dad. And you have a wonderful son. But there might just be some instances when you have tolerated things that you shouldn’t have. If our children act they way they do, it’s either we’ve influenced them to do it or merely tolerated their behavior.”

BOOM! At that moment, I felt like I was hit by a bomb. I realized that certain things my kids do are not because they’re being rebellious but because of lack of instruction from their parents.

Gilbert K. Chesterton said,
“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.”

We have to be deliberate in our parenting. We have to sow seeds of God’s Word in the lives of our kids. God’s Word has everything to say about how we can train, discipline, and raise our children.

Nobody said parenting was going to be a breeze. But we are not without hope. God will help. He will guide. He will bless. His promise stands true that if we train our children in the way they should go, when they grow up, they will not depart from what they’ve been taught (Proverbs 22:6).