Paige Patterson on Fifteen Principles of Christian Parenting
Parents: remember that you are the ones who will most help your children develop a Christian worldview and know the Scriptures thoroughly, that you are the main people who will show them what it means to live a godly life. Here are fifteen principles of parenting for your consideration.
Do not try to entertain your children all the time. You have neither the money nor the talent to compete with the world. Even more important, when young people begin to consider the things of God, they are not looking for entertainment, nor are they looking for the same diet they get in the world. Concentrate your energies instead on what only you can do.
Fathers, be a man’s man your children will respect. Mothers, be a woman who is godly, pure of heart, and a model of what biblical womanhood is all about.
Teach them to love Jesus and God’s Word, the Bible. If they genuinely and profoundly love Jesus and cherish the Bible as God’s Word, they will be better able to withstand the temptations that inevitably will accost them.
Teach them the whole biblical revelation. Too few parents are good Bible teachers. Learn as much as you possibly can about the Bible, theology, and philosophy.
Teach them basic theology. By the time a young person is in the first or second year in high school, he ought to be able to give you a good assessment of the basic doctrines of the faith, and he ought to understand how they relate to one another.
Teach your children how to share their faith, and give them regular opportunities to witness for Christ.
Teach them the meaning of sacrifice. Begin with the sacrifice of Jesus and the sacrificial ministries of others, such as Paul, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and John. Teach them the enormous benefits and joys that come from making sacrifices for the sake of Christ. They will catch on more quickly than will adults.
Lead your children to ask God about his will for their lives. And remember that if the father is a positive example of a godly man, his children will respond quickly, and many of them affirmatively, to the possibility that God may want some of them to serve as pastors, missionaries, or other Christian vocational leaders.
Do not make youth activities an end in themselves. Choir tours and social projects are worthy activities for young people, but every mission tour must gauge its effectiveness by whether or not the young people have seen people to whom they minister find Christ, and perhaps even have planted a church. When they have been prepared, young people have the gifts and passions to bring people to the Lord.
Paige Patterson is President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas (www.swbts.edu).
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