Little by Little

“I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land.” (Exodus 23:29-30)

Little by little. God knew that the best thing was to gradually and incrementally give the Israelites the land of Canaan. He knew that if He gave it to them all at once, then they could not handle it.

This concept comes to mind in parenting with a few different applications.

Little by little your children grow and mature. This is important for those driven, type-A personality, high expectation dads (like me) to remember. They are little humans with souls, and just as God is patient with you as you grow gradually and mature, you must also be patient with them (James 2:13). There are so many concepts and Biblical principles that we want to make sure they have in their hearts before they leave home, but we want them sometimes to understand them all overnight. That just isn’t going to happen. Little by little, dads.

Little by little your children will accomplish their goals. One of my children comes to mind especially with this concept. My daughter, Jessica, has always loved horses since she came forth from the womb. She was ready as a child to have horses, a barn, and a place to ride them. It was very hard for her to pace herself and to be patient because she wanted it all overnight. She has for a long time been an adult in a child’s body…she is very mature. But this concept of “little by little” is something Anna and I taught her to give her patience and steadiness to accomplish her dreams. Now she has a job and she has her own two horses that she completely provides for on her own. But that did not happen overnight. Little by little, dads.

Little by little your parenting style will change. I am in the middle of these incremental changes right now. My youngest is 3 and my oldest is 18, and I cannot parent them the same way. That change gradually happened over years, and we dads have to learn to let go more and more as our children develop into adults. I might put my 3 year old in the corner, but that just won’t work for an 18 year old! As you begin to realize that your sons and daughters are developing into mature adults, they need a completely different style of parenting that what they had as toddlers. Little by little, dads.

I hope this helps.

Conflict Resolution: Fathers

Please refer to Monday’s article for the broader context of this discussion.

Reference Text:  Romans 5:6-10

Continuing to use God as the ultimate example in conflict resolution, today we will consider our children.  Do any of you remember an advertising campaign that McDonald’s had for the Happy Meal a few years back?  It was something like “Happy Meals:  Stopping Temper Tantrums since 19__.”

The ad was effective because it was based on reality and I believe it reveals one of the most common parenting problems I face on a regular basis and one I see all around us.  It seems that “conflict avoidance” is one of the most used parenting strategies of our time…but at what cost?

God initiated the reconciliation

“While we were still helpless…while we were enemies”, God took action. God didn’t sit back and wait for us to show willingness to reconcile, He didn’t even wait for us to acknowledge we had a problem, He took the first step. One of the easiest ways to avoid conflict in the home is to simply let our kids get their way. Saying it like that sounds ridiculous but this idea takes many forms. We can lavish gifts upon them and provide a certain lifestyle and never require any work or responsibility from them. We can be “supportive” and enable them to follow their “dreams” even when those dreams take them farther away from God. We can make empty threats and never actually hold them accountable to their commitments or for their actions. In truth, this kind of parenting is simply forgoing small manageable conflicts now for what will most likely be large destructive conflicts in the future. What does God require from us as fathers?

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”  (Ephesians 6:4)  As fathers, we have been called to bring up our children in “discipline” and “instruction”. Discipline is the idea of training, chastisement and correction. Instruction is the idea of admonishment and warning. Both of these ideas imply conflict. Our children will naturally go the way of selfishness and self-gratification and it is our job to correct attitudes and behaviors so that they become more Christ like, so that they become servants. This process always has the potential to produce conflict, especially as our children grow and begin to develop their own identity, their own faith, and their independence. In essence, God is telling us to introduce conflict into the lives of our children. The text in Ephesians also instructs us “do not provoke your children to anger” which implies that we are responsible for providing the path of reconciliation when conflict arises. How do we do that? There is a significant amount of guidance in scripture to assist us, but for the sake of time let’s consider one simple thought from the text in Ephesians. The passage says “the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

First, and primarily, this is done by our example. How can I hold my children to a standard that I am not willing to meet? How can I expect them to submit to the Lord’s authority if I won’t? If we have a great deal of conflict in our homes with our children (especially teenagers), we should always look to our own hypocrisy first. Resolving our conflict with God is often the first step in resolving conflict in our homes.

Second, let the Lord set the rules. I have had a number of occasions when one of my “rules” was a source of constant conflict and when I examined the Lord’s teaching I realized I was drawing lines He never drew. On other occasions I’ve seen conflict arise in my house from attitudes and behaviors that I had never addressed. In other words, I had ignored the Lord’s instruction and had not been holding my children accountable to His instruction. To resolve conflict, sometimes we will need to throw out some rules and sometimes we will have to establish some new ones. But in every circumstance we should be sitting with our children and reading God’s word to help them understand the source of all the discipline and instruction that takes place within the home. “Because I said so” needs to be replaced with “Because God said so”.

There is so much more we could discuss regarding this topic, so much we could learn from my plethora of mistakes as a father, but this article is already too long for this current format.  So let me close with this encouragement.  Read Hebrews 12:4-14 to get a broader picture of the purpose of discipline and especially as we approach the growth and maturity of our own children.  You’ll notice in this text that the purpose of discipline is healing and peace (vs 12-14). And the greatest peace we can provide for our children is found as they develop a relationship with our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ His Son. And peace with God will involve our willingness to introduce and manage conflict as we bring them up in His discipline and His instruction.

Lessons from the Passenger Seat

Did you know that the human brain does not fully develop until a person is around 25 years old? Why then do we in the U.S. allow people to drive, shoot guns, vote and get married before then? Just a thought. Really, I’m kidding.

My second child, who is no longer a child, is now a licensed driver. Jessica passed her road test last week, and in fact, she did a fantastic job. It’s pretty cool, sad and scary all at the same time to see your kids grow up and become their own person and develop independence.

Today, I wanted to write a bit about the parenting lessons I’ve learned from the passenger seat, and I hope it will be helpful for you. I’m pretty sure that more lessons are to come…I still have four out of six kids to teach how to drive. I’ll either be grey-headed, bald or paralyzed before it’s all done.

They have been sitting in the car with you for 15-16 years. Yes, dad, they will drive like you drive, because they’ve been watching you do it for a decade and a half. If you drive like a maniac, guess what? If you yell at and insult other drivers on the road, they do the same. If you are constantly distracted, then that was their pattern for how to drive. Dad, if you ignore the rules, they will ignore them too. If you are a father with small kids, think about this now, for their sake. One day that kid in the car seat will be behind the wheel of a ton of metal moving along at 70 miles an hour. Set the example. They are watching. It is a life lesson that I have learned as a father – my kids, for some strange reason, act just like me!

You have to relinquish control. If you have been with a beginning driver, have you found yourself looking for that brake pedal on the right side of the car? I have about put that foot through the floor many a time with my son and daughter. That brake pedal just is not there, at least in the U.S.

It is a great lesson for me…giving up control is hard to do! In order for my son or daughter to learn how to drive, I have to sit in passenger seat. They have the wheel. Their foot is on the accelerator. My hands are not on the wheel. Again, I believe this is a great life lesson that I have been learning as a father. We are teaching them to become mature adults who will make wise decisions and lead their own life under God’s direction. That means, however, that we have to take our hands off the wheel. Their foot is on the brake pedal, not ours. They will have to learn and do for themselves. I cannot make every decision for them.

When your son or daughter drives away from home all alone for the first couple of times, it is a sinking feeling. It is, at least for me. But it gets better. As I’m watching them make good decisions, and grow from their bad ones, it is encouraging to see God working in and through their lives.

Last thing for today…it is really sweet when you can send a kid to the grocery store, and you don’t have to go! There are some really positive things that come from your kids growing up and taking on their own responsibilities. I can now say, “Hey, Joseph, please go to the store and get…” Sweet! My oldest son Joseph took two of his younger siblings yesterday to get ice cream and they had a blast together. There are some really cool rewards that come from teaching them to drive.

Jairus and His Daughter

When Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around Him; and so He stayed by the seashore. One of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up, and on seeing Him, fell at His feet and implored Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live.” And He went off with him; and a large crowd was following Him and pressing in on Him (Mark 5:21-24).

“911…What’s your emergency?” I’m sure we all either have had to call 911 at some point, or we have heard recordings on the news of 911 calls. What do you hear on those recordings? Desperation. Urgency. Tears. Raised voices. Confusion. Panic. “Get here now!”

That was no doubt the tone in the crowd on a daily basis as everyone was pressing upon Jesus to get either healing for themselves or for someone they loved. Here comes Jairus. Notice that he was a ruler of the synagogue. Most Jewish religious leaders hated Jesus and caused all kinds of trouble for Him in the synagogues.

I’m not sure if this Jairus was one of those troublemakers, but it really didn’t matter at this point, did it? His daughter was at the point of death, and if you read a little further in the account in Mark 5 she did actually die before Jesus got to her (Mark 5:35-43). His daughter was dying and only Jesus could save her. He would stop at nothing to get Jesus to his 12 year old girl.

So, let me ask you…at this precise moment in the life of a father whose daughter is dying, what mattered to that father? What didn’t matter?

  • Did it matter at that point how pretty she was?
  • Did it matter at that point if she would get higher education, honors and a 4.0 GPA?
  • Did it matter if she would be successful at business?
  • Did it matter if everyone liked her?
  • Did it matter if she had all the best material possessions?
  • Did it matter if she excelled in sports and music?

None of that mattered to Jairus as his daughter was at home dying.

As a minister, I have been with way too many parents who have lost children, and I have never once seen any of the above things matter at all to those grieving parents. Yesterday (April 26th) was the 17th anniversary of the death of my good friend’s son. I just happened to call him yesterday not remembering what day it was, and he asked me, “Do you know what day it is?” I said, “No, but now I remember.” Jeff answered quietly, “The worst day of my life.” That was 17 years ago and it is still like yesterday for this father. That, by the way, was the first funeral I ever preached. When I think of Jairus, I think of Jeff.

I know for sure that if Jeff and his wife Debbie knew Jesus was nearby healing people that they would stop at nothing to get their dying son Matthew to Jesus. Nothing else matters at that point.

The applications, I believe are obvious, but necessary to point out. Lots of dads push their kids to get into the best schools, to accumulate lots of money, to be the best in sports, and to achieve the highest levels in the professional world, but they do not push to get their children to Jesus. What a shame.

Fathers, there is one thing, only one thing that matters in your children’s lives, and that is Jesus Christ. All that other stuff will burn up one day. My mom used to say to me something like this, “Aaron, I don’t care if all you have is a can of pork and beans and live under a tin roof, as long as you love Jesus.” She meant it. She pushed with all her might to get Mark and me to Jesus. Thank you, mom.

For extra study and encouragement: A good friend of mine, Alan Yeater, is delivering a powerful series of lessons this week in Columbus, Indiana on marriage, family, parenting, and resolutions for men. Here is the link for those sermons.

What’s It Like Being a Dad?

For today’s MDB, we are sharing this video by Skit Guys on “Fatherhood.” The question is asked in this short skit, “What’s it like being a dad?”

Enjoy! I think even the “toughest” among you is going to shed a tear on this one.

Psalm 127:3-5 – Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.

Proverbs and Corrective Discipline, part 2

Last Wednesday’s MDB focused on corrective discipline, specifically what the Proverbs and other Scriptures advised on spanking. Today we will look at practical ideas of other corrective measures you can use to train your children to follow God’s rules.

But before, we do that, here is a note from a subscriber. Thanks, Allen, for your feedback.

I agree with everything in your article about spanking. However, I believe spanking should be applied sparingly and I wish you had made that point at the outset. It almost sounded like you advocated spanking as a first consideration.

Tim Santi, one of our vendor reps., once told be he spanked his 2-year-old more than his 5-year-old. He felt that if you start a ship out in the right direction, it is far easier than trying to change course in mid-trip. If done correctly, by the time your child is 7 or 8, you may never have to spank them again.

Thanks again for the feedback. Spanking is only part of the discipline and instruction as we train our children to walk with God, which leads me to my first point in today’s article.

Spanking is not the only corrective measure we should use. If you spank your child for everything they do wrong, you are going overboard. Save spanking for things that you really believe are critical. Things like stealing, putting themselves or others in danger, blatant defiance, and lying are some examples for your consideration.

Here are a few examples of corrective measures other than spanking to help train a child to obey your rules and God’s rules.

Sit and be quiet. Some call it “time out.” There are times when making your child sit down and refrain from talking will be very helpful. It is good training for the child to learn to sit still and not talk for a period of time. Personally, I hated when mom made me sit in a chair and not talk…it was like the end of the world. I haven’t changed. Consider your child’s age and ability to understand. Making a one year old sit in a chair and not talk for an hour won’t work :).

Extra chores or acts of service. It is my experience that sometimes a rake or shovel in their hands is very effective to teach them life principles. There are some kids that have an excess of energy and aggression, and one really good way of getting that out is by digging, shoveling, raking, weeding, etc. We sit too many kids down for too long with entertainment, poor diet and not enough responsibilities and then wonder why they have such an attitude problem. If your child is mistreating his sibling, make him do the chores assigned to that sibling. If he is saying hurtful things about his sibling, make him sit down and write 10 positive things about that brother or sister. Be creative. Make sure that the corrective measures are age appropriate.

Memorizing or writing out Scripture. I will first point out that you need to be careful about using God’s word as a “punishment,” but I will also follow up with the fact that God had specific sections of Scripture written precisely for the times when His people disobeyed Him. These Scriptures were to be read at those times as a way to correct them, remind them, and bring them back to Him (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

To illustrate, my son was being disrespectful and hurtful to his sister, so as part of his correction he had to write 1 Peter 3:7 several times (This verse is about marriage and I was impressing upon him the importance of treating a woman with honor). To this day he can still quote that verse. It impacted him. Another example is when my brother and I were really going at it one time, my mother made us write out 1 Corinthians 13. I don’t reflect upon that as being punished by God’s word, even though I might not have liked it at the time. It planted some very important Biblical principles in my heart.

Lost privileges and possessions. It is often called “grounding.” For some kids, the worst thing you could possibly do to them is take away the entertainment or the smartphone. Do it. Sometimes learning to live without something is a great way of retraining our minds.

It might be that your child is being very disrespectful, and then expects you to take them to their baseball game. Guess where they are not going that night? They will live, even if they are very mad at you. It might hurt their team, yes, but their team will live, too. If you hold the line on this, it might only take one time to drive the point home. By the way, don’t even coaches sometimes bench their players as a way of getting their attention?

Sometimes those lessons are painful, but sometimes we have to sit still and let those lessons hurt. There are consequences to bad behavior. Some parents don’t want to do anything to cause discomfort to their children. It seems like they are trying to be their children’s friends first and not their parents. That is not going to turn out well. We are being their friends by being their parents.

In order to develop adults who have character, respect and self-discipline, we have to shape that when they are young. Love them by showing them the right way. Be consistent. Watch your emotions. Pray always.

Proverbs and Corrective Discipline, part 1

Proverbs 3:11-12 – My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD or loathe His reproof, for whom the LORD loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.

Today is part 1 of a 2-part series on corrective discipline. Today, I want you to look at various Proverbs about spanking and consider some observations. Next Wednesday we will look at several corrective measures other than spanking to train our children.

Spanking is intended to provide temporary discomfort to avoid eternal destruction (Proverbs 23:13-14). By spanking them, you are setting them on course to live in a way that is pleasing to God. We spank them because we love their souls. The goal is to have them develop internal restraints. You want them to respect authority, and that begins at home. They learn to obey the Father in heaven by first learning to obey their parents here on earth.

You are spanking them to get their attention and teach them wisdom (Proverbs 29:15,17). When a small child reaches up to touch the top of the gas stove, and I smack her hand and say “No…danger…hot!”, my goal is to get her attention. Hopefully it will help prevent her from getting burned. When your son lies to you and you spank him on the bottom, you are getting his attention that this behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

The child needs to understand the rules clearly before he gets spanked for breaking them. If I come along and spank a child when he doesn’t even know what he did or why he should not have done it, then spanking is wrong. In fact, you will create children who are confused because they don’t know the rules. Spanking is just one part of discipline (training), but not all of it. Look closely at the first several chapters of the book of Proverbs; Solomon is giving his son lots of instruction.

If you are going to spank your child, be consistent (Proverbs 13:24). Make sure the rules are consistent. Make sure the punishments are consistent, too. Let’s say one week I’m in a great mood and the child does something and I pass it off as “he’s just being a kid.” The next week, I’m tired, stressed and irritable and the child does the exact same thing, but this time I go nuclear on him. What does that say to the child? It teaches that what the child really needs to pay attention to is dad’s mood because “If dad is in a bad mood, I’m really gonna get it.” They are not concerned with following God’s rules at that point, they just don’t want to tick off dad and push his nuclear button. It becomes about you, dad, and not about God. Be consistent. Corrective discipline should be based upon logic, reason and rules, not based upon emotions.

I want to clarify a point here. Being consistent can include trying various corrective measures to drive a point home. Just because you spanked a child for lying does not mean that you always have to spank him for lying. You may find that something else was more effective at that time. More will be said about this next Wednesday.

If you are going to spank your child, reaffirm your love for the child afterwards (2 Corinthians 2:7-8). The punishment should be temporary, but your love should be forever (Psalm 30:5), and the child needs to be assured of that. Paul instructs fathers not to provoke their children to wrath, because they will lose heart (Colossians 3:21). We can cause them to lose heart by being too hard on them, or by not reassuring them of our love and acceptance.

Spanking will not create violent behavior in your child. In fact, it will create the opposite effect (Proverbs 19:18; 22:15). Look around and consider all the violent behavior that we hear about all the time. Is that a result of children being spanked? No, it is not. It often is a result of moms and dads who are either being abusive, negligent, obsessed with careers, addicted to substances, or absent from the home.

A child can clearly and quickly learn the difference between a parent spanking and a person “hitting” someone. If my son punches his sister, and I spank him on the bottom for it, he does not think I am contradicting myself. He knows the difference. Sadly, liberal philosophy run amuck in our society doesn’t know the difference.

The wisdom from Solomon has endured for around 3000 years. It works. It works because God designed us. He knows us. He knows children. He knows how to best direct their hearts to respect authority, develop self-discipline, and shape strong character.

The focus of next Wednesday’s MDB: There are many effective methods parents can use as corrective measures to train a child.

Dad is Patient…Dad is Kind

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails… (1 Corinthians 13:4-8; NIV)

The passage above is familiar to a lot of us even if we are not the bible student we should be.  This passage is often read at weddings to demonstrate the love between husband and wife and how the two should endeavor to live their lives.  There is nothing wrong with this and I certainly believe that a marriage needs to be founded on God’s word and needs to reflect what He has taught us.

The same is true, however, as we consider how we love our children and grandchildren.  Love is something not easily taught and is nearly impossible to teach if it is not demonstrated in our own lives.  So how do we teach them to love?  How do we demonstrate love in our own lives?  Let’s answer these questions by doing a quick exercise someone had me do in years past.

I want you to take the above passage and substitute the word “love” with your name.  Take some time and write it down.  It should look something like “Shane is patient, Shane is kind…”  After you write it down, take some time to read it and think about it.  How does it make you feel?  What does it make you think?

If you are anything like me, you are going to feel uncomfortable.  When I did this exercise, what I found is that I became a liar…these things were simply not true about me.  Not all the time anyways and sometimes not even some of the time.  It was sobering and it left me thinking “How can I teach my children about love?  I can’t even love for myself!”

Then I realized, that was my problem.  For so long and for different reasons, I believed this was the standard for what love should be in my life.  That, in fact, is true.  What I failed to understand, however, is that it is a standard I cannot meet…that no man or woman ever could.  There is only One who ever could…Who did…Who continually does…Jesus Christ.

This passage describes the measureless love of God demonstrated to us in the life of Jesus.  Take the passage again but this time insert Christ’s name in the place of “love”.  Read the passage again and see how true this is!

Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind.  Jesus does not envy, Jesus does not boast, Jesus is not proud.  Jesus is not rude, Jesus is not self-seeking, Jesus is not easily angered, Jesus keeps no record of wrongs.  Jesus does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  Jesus always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Jesus never fails…

With this in front of us, we now understand how to teach our children about love.  We are reminded of a love we cannot produce and of a love we cannot resist – GOD’S love!  As we receive God’s love and continually renew our minds with God’s word, our lives will be transformed.  The actions, within this transformed life, will demonstrate to our children what love is and looks like.  They will understand the source of love is God because He is love.  They will be drawn to Him and to His word.  And there, they will find love and begin their own journey in truly loving through reflecting the image of Jesus in their relationships and their lives.

That You May Be Ready

By Jason Salyers

During family breakfast time, the oldest child asked for “help” on a current project. Excited (this young person currently faces the emotional onslaught present in maturing through adolescence, and often does not think to include Dad in the interactions – it’s a male/female thing), discussion began on the ways, methods, or expectations desired for the “help.” The teenager outlined the basic needs and desires to accomplish her task. Perhaps the greatest moment in this conversation, when suggestions were offered to the young lady, she accepted them gladly, and asked for clarification to assure understanding. As the week progressed, the opportunity arose to see how the project was going. Interestingly, the daughter then shared a number of frustrations she was facing. Frustrations she had not shared with us because she assumed her mother and I were busy and would be unable to further assist her. Together, we went back to the project and worked through those issues.

In studying 2 Corinthians, a parallel to this situation came up. Paul in 2 Cor. 9 sent Titus and two others to the Corinthians. He wrote, “But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident.” Many times in considering this passage, the focus considers the “boasting,” and the avoidance of “humiliation.” Additionally though, another deliberation should be applied. When individuals (wives, children, loved ones, friends, co-workers) approach us with an issue, opportunity, or project, do we follow the example of Paul?

Unlike our children, there are individuals encountered in this life who do not prove trustworthy. In actuality, because of constant interaction, the expectations towards these people would (perhaps understandably) be low. Being truthful with ourselves, we may have no expectations of success where they are concerned. Isn’t it amazing Paul did not feel that way about the Corinthians? A divisive group, with brethren arguing over their place, position, and gifts. A group in which at one point, immorality was tolerated and accepted. Paul does not approach them in this way, instead he tells them:  “But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also (2 Cor. 8:7 is a reference to the gift to the saints in Jerusalem).”

Paul did not expect to be disappointed AND he took steps to make sure he would not be. Instead of sitting back, and waiting for the proverbial “train wreck,” Paul actively sought to give to the Corinthian church what they needed to be successful. Inadvertently, that is what I did in my daughter’s life. I asked her a question, and she needed help. She would not have asked me because of a presumed stress. Involvement, receptiveness, and willingness to assist must be part of our character if we are to follow a biblical example like Paul’s. The easiest path in life excludes our own accountability. Changing our approach allows us to help others succeed.

Our Fathers Have Told Us

Listen, O my people, to my instruction; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments, and not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not prepare its heart and whose spirit was not faithful to God (Psalm 78:1-8).

Fathers and Grandfathers, do not underestimate the power of your words and your teaching upon the next generation. Do not assume that they will get it on their own, or that they already know. Tell them. Tell them again. Remind them often. Find creative ways to illustrate these things.

You know, even the world understands the importance of parents telling things to their kids. Listen to all the Public Service Announcements the government puts out telling parents to talk to their children about drugs, sex, money, etc. In fact, we have our own government-sponsored website,, dedicated to helping dads.


I encourage you, if you have not done this, to take out your Bible and start looking for as many examples as you can find where God talks to fathers and grandfathers about relaying very important information to the next generation.

Here are several examples.

  • Tell your children about His righteousness (Psalm 22:31).
  • Tell your children about His faithfulness, that He always keeps His promises (Isaiah 38:19).
  • Tell your children about worship and why we worship the way we do (Exodus 12:24-27; 13:14-15).
  • Tell your children about the mighty things God has done, either the works of creation, or what God has done in our lives (Joshua 4:6-7,21-22; Psalm 145:4).
  • Tell your children about the seriousness of God’s judgment. The book of Joel talks about a devastating locust plague that God sent because of His people’s sins, and they were to tell their children about it (Joel 1:3).
  • Tell your children about God’s rules and how important they are to keep (Genesis 18:19; Deuteronomy 4:9; 6:7; 11:19; Ephesians 6:4).
  • Use the Proverbs. Have you counted how many times “My son” is used in the first 7 chapters? It is a great conversation Solomon has with his son, and praise God that we have it recorded for us. Use it.

And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come (Psalm 71:18).

You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:10-12).