PRACTICING | PARENTING
| part one |
| PRACTICING |
For those of us who are parents, we know that almost everything our kids do they learned as part of their development. Ever since we were babies, we’ve had to practice pretty much everything we do. New parents have to get up to speed quickly too: diaper changing is proof that babies come out of the womb equipped to do some things readily…and that parents are capable of learning things pretty fast when they have to. Old [and very tired] dogs CAN learn new tricks.
No-Longer-Babies who endure serious injury have to re-train their muscles to regain full use of their bodies…it takes practice. And learning anything new [like technology for us geezers] takes practice, then patience, to master. Sometimes, in order to get things right, we have to unlearn stuff and then relearn it the right way. Unless you were born with a golf club in your hands, you have to learn a whole new way of swinging stuff [unlike a bat or a racquet which most of us conquered pretty easily.]
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
Living Biblically is no different. Even if we had The Fruit of The Spirit [Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control] tattooed on our foreheads since birth, our human nature WILL undo one or more of the slices during our time on Earth.
I believe most of us possess all the slices of The Fruit to some degree. I also believe most of us use some of the slices most of the time. There are exceptions. Like rush hour driving…how’s your patience? Or the other eight? You get the point.
Just as an aside…there are people who actively memorize Scripture. My inner cynic says that’s fine ONLY if you LIVE The Word. But if ever there was Scripture that should be memorized AND lived, it would be The Fruit of The Spirit. C’mon you can do it…there are only nine slices. Eat‘em up. Yum.
WORKS OF THE FLESH
Competing with The Fruit of The Spirit is the Works of the Flesh [impurity, debauchery, enmity, discord, wrath, fits of rage, selfishness, dissension, envy, drunkenness, carousing…there’s more…some ugly ones…Galatians 5 if you go snooping]. It is not coincidence that the Apostle Paul stacked them back to back in his letter. Remember your rush hour driving qualities? You found them here, didn’t you?
Because we are ALL flawed to some degree, I believe ALL of us possess many of these. I also believe ALL of us work some of these from time to time.
Romancing Biblically takes practice [and a measure of self-control]. Parenting Biblically takes practice [and unlearning some of the stuff from the way you were raised]. Love [as given to us by the Apostle Paul…1st Corinthians] is by definition Living Biblically because Love is the GREATEST Commandment. It is…Jesus said so.
It doesn’t matter what we’re doing or where we’re doing it, we can ALL Live Biblically. The good part…just like everything we’ve practiced throughout our lives, Living Biblically gets easier the more you do it. When Living Biblically becomes part of your DNA, others will see the glow of God’s Face in your life.
IT TAKES PRACTICE
And it requires us to choose. To choose between selfishness, debauchery, drunkenness, carousing or Self-Control; wrath, fits of rage or Joy, Patience, and Gentleness; impurity or Faithfulness; discord, dissension or Love and Peace; enmity, envy or Kindness and Goodness.
Once we Choose to BELIEVE that we CAN Live Biblically, we must Choose to ACT on it. Living Biblically takes practice. And because we are not The Son of God, we WILL NOT get it right all the time. When we stumble, we must get back on this path and SEE IT THROUGH.
BECOMING ONE FLESH
Becoming One Flesh is Being Married Biblically. It’s a choice we make. It’s a choice forged in the belief that a One Flesh Marriage is God’s Design for our Marriages & Families. It’s the best choice for prospering us with lifelong joy.
It’s choosing to Love and choosing to believe that Love Never Fails; choosing to cleave to each other and choosing to never let go; choosing to know your spouse’s God-given gifts, talents, purpose and choosing to help them achieve it; choosing to honor your shared dominion and choosing to yield yourself to the other.
Becoming One Flesh is choosing to Show Up for Your Marriage & Your Family.
PRACTICING | PARENTING
| part two |
| part one | is obviously a recurring theme on practicing.
There’s only one point not made yet…what’s your heart condition? In other words, do you REALLY WANT to Live Biblically? Do you have the pure motivation and unwavering resolve it’ll take? Just know the gate is small, the road is narrow, and only a few enter. Yeah…Jesus said that too. If you Choose to BELIEVE that the reward is worth it, then you have to Choose to ACT [show up & put in the effort] and SEE IT THROUGH [Love ALWAYS Perseveres and NEVER FAILS].
| PARENTING |
Parenting your child Biblically takes unlearning the years of parenting you got because chances are good you weren’t raised this way [most parents raised us the best they knew how and we need to honor them for that]. Then relearning how to raise your child in Love and with The Fruit of The Spirit. Recognizing that some children are gifted with ornery, it may take a while for your examples of Love to take hold.
Assuming you know the biology of creating new life, you chose this. Your child did not. Your child’s formative years [until your child demonstrates responsibility] require you to stop your SELF indulgences and focus on his/her development. There’s time for SELF when you’ve completed the task. If you’re not ready for this…you get the point.
YOUR CHILD IS A CREATION OF GOD
Parenting Biblically starts with the realization that your child is not just yours. Your child was handcrafted by God with a unique combination of gifts, talents, traits, etc, to achieve His Specific Purpose…and you get a front row seat! In other words, your child is NOT a mini you. Nor is there any redesign you can come up with that’s as good as God’s.
Our obligation as parents is to learn who our child is and how God designed him/her. Then we are to adjust our parenting styles and personalities to support our child’s purpose & design.
PUNISHING REFLECTS YOUR PARENTING
Raising a child Biblically is not just a matter of proclaiming the too-often quoted Proverbs verse [13:24] about sparing the rod. I have personal knowledge of a boy who was routinely beaten by his dad with lumber. When the boy became a man [when I got to know him], he did not control, and therefore lived out, his anger. I know of one occasion that he beat his wife to the point of putting her into the hospital.
You may know someone too. If something like this happened to you, you MUST get professional help. The ability to quote Scripture is NOT license to justify beating the snot out of your child. If you find yourself being unable or unwilling to control your anger, PLEASE get help. Left untreated, people get hurt or die.
I would rewrite the verse to say: Use the rod sparingly and spare your child a lifetime of anger and bitterness. In other words, the rod should be used rarely, only once or twice to get your child’s attention, only if your child’s misdeed demands it, and as a last resort. Your child must know there are appropriate consequences for misbehaviors.
I learned to anticipate the directions in which my boys’ behaviors were going and hit walls, doors, anything handy that would make a sound loud enough to get my children’s attention so they’d quit. Whatever I could do to stop deeds before they became misdeeds. In doing so, punishment was made rare…not a fact of life.
One more thing. My boys heard me tell them I Love You SO MANY MORE TIMES than I punished them. Why? Because I prayed that if they heard Love and felt Love A LOT, then maybe the weight of punishment wouldn’t wear on them and they may actually believe that their punishment was doled out in love with a desire to guide them in right behaviors.
BOYS > MEN
God granted male and female co-dominion over everything on earth, which includes, by definition, shared dominion over each other. Despite changes in society that has seen a rise in women’s self-reliance [these are good changes], most women still want their men to be protective shepherds and family leaders. Doesn’t this need to be taught and modeled? How does a boy [the self-proclaimed superhero of the universe] learn to share dominion with the woman in his life and Become One Flesh if it’s not taught and modeled?
Boys do not become men because of age or sperm production. Manhood speaks to the quality of the male and his ability to rise to the level of shepherd. When God formed the man, He put him to work in The Garden. Man is the central figure in God’s Creation: he and the animals were created from the dust of the earth and the woman was formed from his rib. The man leaves his father and mother to establish his own family [have you prepared your son for this?] He cleaves to his wife [does your son know how?] He presents his wife, on her Day of Judgment, as holy and blameless like a radiant church. How does he do that unless he loves his wife as Christ loved The Church? Does your son embody the qualities of the Psalm 23 Shepherd? You get the point.
Finally. Let boys cry when it hurts. If all they’ve learned is that boys don’t cry, what will they tell their wives and daughters when they cry? Physical and emotional pains are real…superheroes do come crashing down to earth. And Jesus cried out to His Father when He was on The Cross.
If you want your son to grow up to be a man, it must be done with purpose. And chances are, you’ll probably have some unlearning and relearning to do…