7“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9 NIV
I wrote the basics of this article as a comment on a Facebook post. He and his wife are expecting their first baby in November and he was asking for tips on being a father. I am not a father, but I am a mom and grandma. I also know what the Word says about parenting. The Joshua passage above is not specifically about parenting, but it is a good place to start.
Here is the list I gave him and a few more:
Be rooted in Christ.
Read, meditate on, live, and pray the Word.
Pray every day and continually for yourself for and with your spouse.
Pray for and with your children.
Speak blessings over your children.
Spend time with them.
Love them, hug them, kiss their little cheeks. Even as they get older and maybe don’t like it in public, but don’t stop showing them affection.
Watch your thoughts, words, and especially actions. Children tend to do what we do, not what we say.
Do not sin in your anger. You will get angry. If you feel like you’re getting out of control walk away and pray. Or even stop and pray with them. Let them see the struggle and what you do with it. Pray for yourself and them – whatever made you angry. (I’ve been there.)
Don’t let anger fester. Pray and talk it out. When you blow it, and you will, don’t be afraid to apologize to your child. It shows your love, humility, and that you are human. (This helped save my relationship with my youngest.)
Point them always to Christ and keep Jesus the top priority in your family – over every thing from jobs, to TV, music, books you each read, to sports, and all activities. In and of themselves these things are fine, but don’t let any of it keep you from puttimg God first and worshipping together regularly.
Read the Bible to them and with them and study it on your own, so you can live it every day.
Remember what God has done for you and for them through Jesus at Calvary.
Love them as God loves them and you.
This is not an all-inclusive list by any means. But I believe this hits most of the truly important stuff. Many people will tell you things like take lots of pictures, sleep in, be a team with your wife…but the most important advice is God first in all things. According to what God spoke to Joshua that is what makes us successful and prosperous in all we do.
Ephesians 6:4 (NIV): Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Proverbs 22:6 (ESV): Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV) an example of a blessing: 24“The Lord bless you
and keep you; 25the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
26the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV): 5Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
A benediction for everyone reading this article:
11You who fear him, trust in the Lord—
he is their help and shield.
12The Lord remembers us and will bless us:
He will bless his people Israel,
he will bless the house of Aaron,
13he will bless those who fear the Lord—
small and great alike.
14May the Lord cause you to flourish,
both you and your children.
15May you be blessed by the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 115:11-15 NIV
Blessings and peace,