The Word love according to the dictionary means an intense feeling of deep affection. It also means to have a great interest and pleasure in something. The Bible explains it further by telling us the negative things love can accommodate- read the text . Love requires good will, doing what is best for all, sacrifice, spending time and showing affection . The relationship between parents and children must be characterized by love.( Matthew 22:37-40) – The greatest two commands are to love God and love our neighbor. The basis of any good relationship is love, because love leads us to seek the wellbeing of others. It leads us to do what is best for others .
How To Raise Godly Children With Love
- By loving one another
- Encourage the children whenever possible
- Stipulate rules/punishment for the child’s good
- Willingly Sacrifice for the Children’s good
- Learn to show affection to the children
I. Start by Loving One Another.
a) Love Enough to Stay Together : Children deserve the security of knowing their home will always be there. Modern society defends divorce by saying “the children will soon get over it and they may be better off”. Parents think, “I can’t make my children happy if I’m not happy, but I’ll never be happy in this marriage.” But this is selfishness, not love. Divorce is incredibly traumatic to children, leaving scars for life. What troubled marriages need is not divorce but to learn to get along.
b) Love Enough to Learn to Treat One Another Right : It isn’t enough just for parents to stay together; they also need to love and treat one another right. (Titus 2:4-5) Young women should learn to love their husbands and children. Love for children is associated with love for ones spouse. In fact, you cannot truly do either one without the other.(Ephesians 5:25-33)The husband must love his wife as Christ loved the church and as he loves himself. Love her enough to provide for her, cherish her, and care for her as surely as you do yourself.
Notice that these passages teach that love can be learned. Biblical love does not always come naturally, the learning starts the moment your love begins to bear the negative attitudes of the one you love. Parents have a natural affection toward one another and toward their children, but natural attraction itself does not always lead us to do what is best. Biblical love leads us to learn God’s will for the family, then it motivates us to do that which is right.
c) Love Enough to Show Affection. Husband and wife need to speak and act affectionately. Intimacy should be kept private, but children should never doubt that their parents love one another. Children need to be raised in an atmosphere of love and good will.
A pattern of fussing and fighting between parents leads to insecurity and fear for the children. And often the children will imitate that disruptive behavior in their own families when they marry. On the other hand, when parents establish a pattern of stating and expressing affection, children have a sense of security and they learn the importance of showing affection in their own families. The first and most basic aspect of love that any parents need is to learn to love one another. Their love for the children should follow from this.
2 . Encourage Children Whenever Possible.
(Colossians 3:21- easy English version )warns us not to provoke our children to discouragement. This is also part of love. Just as love leads us to do good toward our spouse, it should then lead us to do good for our children. Parents should not aggravate the children by nagging , Belittling them till they feel worthless.(give examples) . These attitudes may lead them to quit trying . Provoking children does not mean when a child is stubbornly angry. The followings will give us guidelines on how not to provoke the children a) Avoid Humor that Frustrates, Discourages, or Angers. Humor is good, and can be valuable in dealing with children. But humor is only good if everyone enjoys it and no one gets hurt by it. Humor that hurts other people’s feelings is poor humor and violates the principle of love. And remember that children are more sensitive at certain ages than at other ages. Things that may not bother us or other children at all, may yet really hurt a particular child at certain stages.
b) Avoid Belittling Child For Past Mistakes. This especially hurts the child when done in the presence of others and most especially in front of his/her friends. If a mistake needs correcting, do it in a way that shows the child that you still love him/her . Don’t bring up a child’s past mistakes and embarrass him in the presence of others. If the child can genuinely join in the humor, fine. But if it will make that child feel inferior, please avoid it.
c) Set Your Expectations Within Reach of the Child’s Ability. Too many parents expect perfection or achievements that are simply beyond the child’s abilities . Some parents demand things the child can’t accomplish till he is older. Others compare him to other children who may simply possess abilities this child lacks. (“Susie got straight ‘A’s,’ why can’t you?”)
d) Express Appreciation for Accomplishments. Some parents constantly criticize and complain, but rarely give praise. We should challenge children to do their best. But many abilities just develop later in life than many parents expect. If a child makes a sincere effort but just receives criticism instead of praise, he will become discouraged and quit trying: statements like “What’s the use? I’ll never please them anyway.”will begin to get into their minds.
We should not build our lives around our children or grant their every whim. But neither should we destroy their sense of worth by being indifferent to their feelings.
3.Stipulate Rules and Punishments for the Child’s Good.
Love motivates us to do, what is best for everyone including the children and not what we want. Listen to the child and consider his view as you make decisions that affect the child. It is just a matter of love – doing to others as we would want them to do to us (Matt. 7:12).
One of the surest ways to discourage a child is to act selfishly and unjustly toward him/her, using our authority unreasonably for our personal pleasure. (pls who can create a scenario on that) . This does not mean the child should just have his way. That is not good for him or for anyone . There must be rules, and rules must be enforced. But they must be made for the good of all.
(Hebrews 12:5-11) -Who loves the child more ?
The parent who allows the child to do what will harm him/her or the parent who corrects, train, and even punishes the child to leap him/her learn what is right . It is ne er pleasant to be corrected or discipline. But discipline is a sign of deep love for the one you love . Just God Himself disciplines us as Christians He loves so dearly. (Proverbs 13:24 , 23:13-14.) The greatest responsibility God gives to parents is the Nuture and Guidance of their children. Lack of discipline puts parents’ love in question because it shows a lack of concern for the character development of their children. Disciplining children averts long range disaster. Without correction, children grow up with no understanding of right and wrong and little direction to their lives. So discipline is an act of love
Some Specific Guidelines Regarding Making Rules and Punishing in Love
- Never use your authority to get personal vengeance on a child.
- Never punish the child in a fit of uncontrolled anger. (Eph. 4:26).
- Never use authority just to satisfy a desire for power.
Parents who use authority in unloving ways are wrong, (1) because they have disobeyed God’s law of love, (2)because they unnecessarily discourage their children, (3) because they are not likely to gain the child’s respect and obedience.
4 . Willingly Sacrifice for the Children’s Good.
Sacrifice and giving of ourselves are essential to Biblical love. John 3:16 – God gave His Son because He loves us. Luke 10:25-37 – The good Samaritan illustrated love by giving time, effort, concern, and even money for the wellbeing of another. 1 John 3:16-18 – We imitate the example of Jesus and show our love for others by giving what they need, not just by claiming to have love.
Too many children are simply neglected and unattended to. Some roam the neighborhood, or go to day-care or baby-sitters day after day, simply because the parents are busy doing other things. Many misbehave because they are starved for attention and just want the parents to notice them. Other children may seem well behaved, but they never serve God faithfully because their parents never take the time to teach them God’s ways.
Some parents are too involved in recreation, entertainment, or social activities to take the time to care, love, and guide their children. Many families rarely play together, work together, worship and pray together, and may not even eat together. We must spend time with children to answer their questions, listen to their problems, and give them guidance and instruction.
Parents are often too wrapped up in jobs or personal interests. It is true that we must provide a livable income according to (1Tim. 5:8). But again, the goal is to raise godly children. What does it profit to provide physical necessities and luxuries, if our children do not grow up to serve God faithfully (Matt. 16:26)?
Many parents realize too late that their priorities were wrong, but by then the children are gone and it is too late to establish a relationship with them. What sacrifices are you making to give your children the time and attention they need.
5.Learn to Show Affection to Children.
Christian families should be affectionate families. This is also something that can and should be learned. Children are a heritage from the Lord. A man who has his quiver full is a happy man. Yet some act like caring for children is unbearable drudgery. We grumble and complain every time we have to do something for them. Psalm 128:3-4 Children around our table are a blessing from God. We need to improve our attitude toward children.
Show Affection by Words and by Physical Contact.
Deep emotional needs are met for children when their parents say they love them and then show that they really mean it. Every person has a fundamental need for security and a sense of belonging and closeness. If this need isn’t met in the home, children will seek it elsewhere such as among peers. Boys may join gangs. Girls may become sexually promiscuous to find acceptance from a guy. Parents, hug and kiss your kids. Tell them you love them. Do it regularly. This includes your teenage boys
Our Heavenly Father is an example of a good father . He frequently assures us, both by deed and by word, that He loves us.
Genesis 33:4 – When the brothers Jacob and Esau met after a long separation, they embraced, kissed, and wept.
Genesis 45:15; 46:29 – After long separation Joseph embraced, kissed, and wept with his brothers and then his father.
Genesis 48:10 – Jacob kissed and embraced Joseph’s sons.
1 Kings 19:20 – As a grown man Elisha kissed his father and mother goodbye.
Luke 15:20 – When the prodigal son returned, his father embraced and kissed him.
Some families meet physical needs but neglect emotional needs. Families should learn to be affectionate both in words and in touch. It begins with holding the babies and nursing them the natural way when possible. As they grow it may include hugging and embracing, telling them we love them, putting an arm around them, holding hands during prayer, having group hugs, and sympathizing with one another in times of trouble and rejoicing together in times of happiness. It includes remembering special days (birthdays, anniversaries) and giving gifts.
People need a sense of security, belonging, and closeness, as well as physical needs. These needs should be met in the home. If your parents were not affectionate, you can and should change it in your family. This affection should include all the family members, including the men and boys.
Reassurance of love is important especially after punishment.
It is important for a child to understand that we are not rejecting him, but we object to his conduct. This becomes clear if, after punishing the child, we take time to hold him on our lap, talk to him, and then include him in other activities. Don’t make him feel like an outcast, but assure him of forgiveness .
We only have our children for such a short time. So let us train them with much love so they can nature us tomorrow (in our old age) 1 Corinthians 13:13 – says “Now abide faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love
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