Some mothers prepare their teenage daughters for premarital sexual decisions by having special discussions about love, menstrual cycle, or birth control. They may feel guilty asking their teenage daughters to abstain from sex outside of marriage, if they, as teenagers themselves, did not. Likewise, some fathers may look the other way when their teenage sons have sex, drink alcohol, or smoke pot … after all, ‘we did it when we were teens … how can we say “no” now?’
No matter what mistakes we may have made, that is history. If we have received Jesus’ forgiveness, the past is past. This is today … and God is calling us right now to train our children in the way they should go … the way that is pleasing to Him. Not in the way that we went.
Because you broke rules and made mistakes does not mean that your children should follow the same pattern. It is vital that you learn from your wrongdoing and receive Christ’s forgiveness. Next, God calls you to love your children enough to teach them the right way … God’s way. But for your message to have real impact on them you need to do 3 things:
- Don’t just tell them the right decision to make, but live it, be a role model in all you do now.
- Understand the reasons that those behaviors aren’t good and explain them to your child. Your explanations need to go deeper than “the Bible says so” or “because you’ll get in trouble.” You know firsthand the consequences and fruit of the flesh you reaped, both then and the ripples afterward. You need to examine what happened because God wants to use those experiences to help you teach your kids with conviction so your kids can benefit from them.
- Start equipping your children with a concrete strategy so they can become better decision-makers. Teach them decision-making skills and the rewards they will experience physiologically (their brain chemistry is renewed), psychologically (their personality and skills mature and grow), and spiritually (their connection to and relationship with God grow more powerfully). Yes, knowing the benefits of doing the right thing will help motivate them to do the right thing.
Today, remember you don’t have to do it alone. Ask God for the courage, the strength, and the wisdom to train your children in the way they should go. Today, do some self-assessment and see how you well you are discipling those God gave to you to teach Godly decision-making skills to. WITHIN REACH and Edging Forward teach unique practical principles for the actual mechanics or steps of healthy decision-making as well as the rewards and consequences of poor decision-making. How you guide and disciple your children is your decision, so choose well.
Dear God, help me to guide and disciple my children so that they won’t make the same mistakes that I did. Help me to train them in the way they should go. Impress upon me that training them isn’t just telling them, but also role modeling great decision-making in front of them. Help me understand how You designed me and why I make the decisions I make. Show me how to make Godly decisions and then teach these principles and motivations to my children. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One You sent to train me in the way I should go, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
The Lord your God will delight in you if you obey his voice and keep the commands and decrees written in this Book of Instruction, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is within your reach. Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Deuteronomy 30:10-11, 19-20