Raising Next Generation: Parenting Inward (Proverbs 3:1-12)

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Things Parents have learned by raising children[1]:

  • Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.
  • If you spray hairspray on dust bunnies and run over them with rollerblades, they can ignite.
  • If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42lb boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. However, it is strong enough to hit a baseball 20’.
  • BTW, just because a window is double-paned glass does not mean it will stop a baseball hit by ceiling fan.
  • Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.
  • When you hear the toilet flush and the words “uh-oh”, it’s already too late.
  • Toilets are actually the first swimming pool for many children.
  • Certain legos will pass through the digestive tract. Certain legos will also fit up a nose requiring tweezers to extrapolate.
  • VCR’s do not eject peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
  • The spin cycle on the wash machine does not make earthworms dizzy. However, cats throw up twice their bodyweight when dizzy.

I used to say before children I had at least 4 good theories on parenting. Now after four children, I have 0 good theories on parenting.

In seriousness, I realize there is much to still learn as well as there is much I miss and fail to hit the target that God expects of me as a father, and for us as parents. Yet, I do believe that God’s Word is sufficient to provide a path for raising the next generation.

In circa 1959[2] , Houston Police Department issued a leaflet published in the local Chamber of Commerce publication, titled “Twelve Rules for Raising Delinquent Children”

  1. Begin with infancy to give the child everything he wants. In this way he will grow up to believe the world owes him a living. 
  2. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. This will make him think he’s cute. It will also encourage him to pick up “cuter phrases” that will blow off the top of your head later. 
  3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he is 21, and then let him “decide for himself.” 
  4. Avoid the use of the word “wrong.” It may develop a guilt complex. This will condition him to believe later, when he is arrested for stealing a car, that society is against him and he is being persecuted. 
  5. Pick up everything he leaves lying around – books, shoes, clothes. Do everything for him so that he will be experienced in throwing all responsibility on others. 
  6. Let him read any printed matter he can get his hands on. Be careful that the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but don’t worry about his mind feasting on garbage. 
  7. Quarrel frequently in the presence of your children. In this way they will not be too shocked when the home is broken up later. 
  8. Give the child all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his. Why should he have things as tough as you did? 
  9. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink, and comfort. See that every sensual desire is gratified. Denial may lead to harmful frustration. 
  10. Take his part against neighbors, teachers, policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child. 
  11. When he gets into real trouble, apologize to yourself by saying, “I never could do anything with him!” 
  12. Prepare yourself for a life of grief. You’ll surely have it.

The book of Proverbs provides a helpful path for parenting. Today’s message is:

EXAMINE   Proverbs 3                  Raising Inward: Parenting Requires Discipline.

Discipline is loving & wise (Proverbs 3:1)

Proverbs 3:1, 11 “My son… My son…”

  • references to teaching a “son” repeatedly 24+x (1:8, 1:10; 1:15; 2:1; 3:1; 3:11; 3:21; 4:1; 4:10; 4:20; 5:1; 6:1; 6:20; 7:1; 7:24; 7:32; 10:1; 13:1; 15:20; 19:13; 24:13; 24:21; 27:11; 31:2).
  • Solomon is passing wisdom for royal leadership as king & relational transformation as a father.

We must remember that discipline is not a dirty word for parenting. In fact it is both wise and loving. If we are honest, many of us have experienced uncomfortable and unsettling public instances of a child wildly out of control with his/her parents. Our tendency may be to blame the child but the reality is that the responsibility belongs to the parents to provide a form of discipline. Too many parents are not accepting the stewardship from God or the role responsibility to raise a child. They are negligent or ignorant of discipline, overly permissive to either be liked or being lazy, and simply passive in their parenting role.

And if we are even more honest, we have been those parents of the child acting wildly out of control in a public place. So, granted there are a variety of reasons for why this happens and it does not all equate to a parent’s lack of discipline. I am speaking generally and broadly. The point to be made is that discipline is often lacking in today’s parenting.

The book of Proverbs says discipline is wise & loving. If children are left to themselves they will be foolish and follow harmful paths. It is not loving to overlook shameful habits, selfish attitudes, or sinful behavior. In fact, it is lazy and unwise parenting.

Loving:
Proverbs 3:12 “for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights”

            Hebrews 12:8 “If you are left w/o discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate

children”         In other words, w/o discipline you are not loving as parent or being loved as a child.

Proverbs 27:5 “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.”

  • Be careful about raving too easily
    • The self-esteem movement took root in our school systems in the 1980’s. We determined every kid would feel special, regardless of what they did. They continually heard:
      • You’re smart!              You’re awesome!        You’re gifted!
    • We made the mistake of thinking that self-esteem can come simply from affirmation. So, this generation of kids has now grown up in a world where they are affirmed for everything, rather than for the things they did.
    • Dr. Robert Cloninger, at Washington University in St. Louis has done brain research on the prefrontal cortex, which monitors the reward center of the brain. His research reveals that “a person who grows up getting too frequent rewards will not have persistence, because they’ll quit when the rewards disappear”.
  • Be careful about rescuing too quickly
    • This generation of kids have learned that some adult will at some point swoop in and solve their problems for them. We won’t let them fail.
    • The unintended consequence of a child being rescued quickly is that their problem-solving skills diminish and they lean on someone else to solve problems for them.
    • This may sound harsh, but rescuing and over-indulging our children is one of the most insidious forms of child abuse. It’s “parenting for the short-term”.

Wise:

Proverbs 5:23 “He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.”

Proverbs 12:1 “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”

Proverbs 15:5b “whoever heeds reproof is prudent.”

Tedd Tripp, SACH

“As a parent, you have authority because God calls you to be an authority in your child’s life. You have the authority to act on behalf of God. As a father or mother, you do not exercise rule over your jurisdiction, but over God’s. You act at his command. You discharge a duty that he has given. You may not try to shape the lives of your children as pleases you, but as pleases him… Understanding this simple principle enables you to think clearly about your task. If you are God’s agent in this task of providing essential training and instruction in the Lord, then you, too, are a person under authority. You and your child are in the same boat. You are both under God’s authority. You have differing roles, but the same Master.”[3]

“Recognizing that God has called you to function as His agent defines your task as a parent. Our culture has reduced parenting to providing care. Parents often see the task in these narrow terms. The child must have food, clothes, a bed and some quality time. In sharp contrast to such a weak view, God has called you to a more profound task than being a care-provider. You shepherd your child in God’s behalf. The task God has given you is not one that can be conveniently scheduled. It is a pervasive task. Training and shepherding is going on whenever you are with your children. Whether walking, talking or resting, you must be involved in helping your child to understand life, himself and his [or her] needs from a biblical perspective.”[4]

  • Those who dislike discipline, should we get rid of military & police who discipline evil on national global & national scale? Should we take out rules in schools or on the highway? Discipline is required for daily living.
  • Most do not discount discipline but instead of accepting parenting authority they view it as parental advisory.
    • Parents inquire instead of instruct. “Do you want to eat vegetables?” “Would you like to go to bed now?” “Is a midnight curfew ok for your weekend party?”
      • Yes, children need to be equipped to make decisions but it first must be modeled for them by you making wise & loving decisions on their behalf. Later years should include participation in the decision-making process.
    • Parents can accept authority, even if it needs reclaiming through informing and instructing of God’s authority for all to be under needs direction and discipline.
  • Parents, this series in Proverbs is to affirm your royal leadership and relational transformation in the home. This is a defining opportunity for you and us together as faith families to commit to raising the next generation for the glory of God.

Discipline & Children with Disabilities

Children who have disabilities requires unique challenges. Here are a few observations & reminders I would like to share with these families.

  • First, our church is glad you are present among our church body. We know it may not be easy and sometimes requires extra energy or work. Please communicate to help us identify our blind-spots and perhaps areas to either our physical building or our ministry service for being of help to you.
  • Second, don’t let anyone – including yourself – tell you that your family is not normal. God has created each of us “in his image” (Genesis 1:27), and you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Sure, I have heard the statistics that about ten percent of our population is “disabled”.[5] I’ve heard that about a quarter of our population struggles with some form of mental illness.[6] Yet, your life is not defined by statistics. Our value should never be measured by what one can or cannot do. Your worth and identity is established in the fact that you are a living, human person and created to display the glorious image of God. God has placed a portion of His intrinsic splendor and specialness inside of you– your face, your body, your personality, and all that makes you being you. Further, Jesus died for us when we are at our lowest (Romans 5:8). The price God paid to free us from sin and death was not a low-ball number because of our weakness but instead was the highest price of purchase – the death of God’s perfect and only Son (John 3:16). Therefore, from God’s point of view you are worth every bit of weakness you own. It is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ you can become a beautiful blessing to reflect and declare the light and love of Jesus. You are who God says you are, not what others say. Trust in Him, your Heavenly Father who loves you and gave you Jesus.
  • In terms of discipline, remember that discipline (coaching & correction for life transformation) can help provide structure and boundaries. All children, even with disabilities, have the potential to learn, grow, and mature each in their own way and at their own pace. Your expectations with God’s Word are still vital in your child’s growth.
  • Further, your discipline does not need to be “equal” for additional children, it just needs to be unbiased. And this is true not just for families with disabilities but for all families. Parents do not have to treat their children equally but uniquely. In fact, this is the essence of Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
  • Lastly, please allow others to help, especially those in our community of faith. God has placed us together as, “those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty…But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1Corinthians 12:23-26).

Discipline is leading hearts to trust God (Proverbs 3:1-8)

Proverbs 3:4 “So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.”

Solomon’s view for parenting is peace [shalom] (Prov 3:2) and having favor with God and success with others (Prov 3:4). Solomon understood the Godward nature for all of life and is seen in each command to capture the heart (3:1, 3, 5) of the child.

Parents leading their own hearts…

  • Children are tiny teachers… “parenting is one of the most spiritually formative journeys a person can ever undertake – the journey of caring for, raising, training, and loving children will mark us indelibly and powerfully. We cannot be the same people we once were; we will be forever changed, eternally altered. Spiritually speaking, we need to raise children every bit as they need us to raise them.”[7]
  • In parenting, I continually see my own apathy toward God, my inward anger at unmet expectations, my selfishness toward serving others and a long list of other sins.
    Parenting keeps me from amassing pride.

    • If you’re not a parent think of other ways you are a surrogate: CM/YM, ministry to _____, leader or boss at work, coach, etc. Now reflect on what these environments teach you about yourself and reveal areas of needed spiritual growth.
  • Parents must learn difference to discipline childish behavior and acknowledge child-likeness.
    • Childish behavior is disobedience.
    • Childlike behavior is playfulness or simple immaturity.
      • Parents, remember you are raising children not carpet… or other material possessions.
  • Parents must be careful of expectations based on self-idols. It is ok for parents to want good for their children, but their good may be different than God’s good, and God is best.
    Gen 25:27-28 “When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.”
    Martin Luther says: “All live on as though God gave us children for our pleasure or amusement, as though He gave us servants to use, like a cow or an ass, for work only, or as though we were to live with our subordinates only to gratify our whims ignoring them, as though what they learn or how they live were no concern of ours.  No one wants to see that educating or training is the command of the Supreme Majesty, who will strictly call us to account and punish us for its neglect, or that the need to be seriously concerned about young people is so great.  For if we want to have good and capable persons for both temporal and spiritual leadership, we must certainly spare no diligence, effort, or cost in teaching and educating our children that they may be able to serve God and the world.  We must think not only how we may amass money and possessions for them; for God can surely support them and make them rich without us, as He is doing every day.  But He has given and entrusted children to us that we should train and govern them according to His will.” (Luther,What Luther Says, 140)

Parents leading a child’s heart…

When it comes to the heart, no one is born morally neutral. Children, like all of us were, are born with a worship orientation; in fact a worship disorder called SIN!

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it.”

Jesus said (Luke 6:43-45), “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

Since our hearts are hungry for pride we must daily seek repentance of sin and renewal in the Savior & Scripture. We must fill our lives with what is pure, and true (Psalm 19:7-11). Solomon parents his child to bind these words on his neck and write them on the tablet of his heart (Prov 3:3). Ultimately, there is the call for the child to trust the Lord (Prov 3:5).

The goal of parenting is to shape a child’s heart and worship orientation toward the proper place—the person of Jesus Christ. Therefore, this cannot not happen by mere behavioral correction (“do this”, “stop that”). To transform a child’s heart you must capture their heart, mind and imagination. Let them see and savor a vision of the Lord.

Proverbs 3:8 “It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”

Prov 8:19 “My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver.”

Prov 18:10 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.”

Prov 30:5 “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”

  • Pray diligently for children’s salvation – believers who are baptized in Christ and belonging to body.
  • Point children to Jesus. He is the perfect, righteous, wise Son. He took our discipline and rod. He is Savior.

Discipline is learning what is most loving (Proverbs 3:11-12)

Proverbs 3:11-12 “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline [musar – instruction] or be weary of his reproof [yakah – correction], for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights” 

At first, a child may see discipline as hate. The child may become hardened to despise discipline. Solomon warns against this perspective and not to grow weary by using two different words.

Discipline is instructive with teaching, training, coaching, encouragement, even warning. Discipline is also reproofing with rebuke and correction.[8]

Mentioned previously, the author of Hebrews is helpful here.

12:7-11 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.11  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them

Parents know the nature of their children best. Therefore, parents should take their child’s age and unique personality and temperament into account and beware that some children may respond to alternative forms of positive or negative consequences and reinforcement. But remember, discipline is not conditioning by stimuli to behave a certain way—it must be in the context of a parent-child relationship shepherding the heart to trust and love God.

“The central focus of parenting is the gospel. You need to direct not simply the behavior of your children, but the attitudes of their hearts. You need to show them not just the ‘what’ of their sin and failure, but the ‘why’. Your children despeerately need to understand not only the external ‘what’ they did wrong, but also they ‘why’ they did it. You must help them see that God works from the inside out. Therefore, your parenting goal cannot simply be well-behaved children. Your children must also understand why they sin and how to recognize internal change.”[9]

Prov 20:5 “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.”

à Remember discipline is a team effort

Genesis 2:24 “one flesh”       Parenting involves a unified approach.

Proverbs 1:8-9 “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.”

Proverbs 6:20, 23 “My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. ..For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life… to preserve you”

– Avoid “wait until your Dad gets home”

for our good that we may share his holiness… later it yields peaceful fruit of righteousness

The purpose of discipline is not punishment but loving, learning, and leading children to worship God. In discipline, parents must reflect what you want respected; or in other words, actions speak louder than words. Your life example should match your parenting instructions. When it doesn’t, this may not be wrong but you should be able to communicate why it doesn’t or apologize for the inconsistency.

  • Children have excellent hypocrisy meters.
  • Relationship without rules results in uncertainty. Rules without relationship results in unrest.

Proverbs 3:1 “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments”

Proverbs 4:4 “let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments and live.”

Proverbs 23:26 “My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.”

  • Cultivating humility is good but humiliating children is not.
    • What are you, stupid?
    • I wonder how many mistakes you can make today.
  • Do not provoke [exasperate] children toward anger (Eph 6:4)
    • raising voice leading to yelling – children should obey even at a parent’s whisper
    • counting: 1, 2, 3, 4,…. 1. Instead of recounting or counting sloooowww. Further, repeated instructions are unhelpful.
      • Just expect 1st time obedience.
    • talking without being near child… yelling from a distance.
      • Eye to eye… “eyes & ears w/o mouth”
    • not listening before lecturing
      Proverbs 18:13 “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”
    • reproof without explanation or instruction
    • Correcting based on culture or comparative social norms of other families.
      • Correct on basis of God’s Word not culture and social norms of other families. When parents correct on culture they end up with either legalistic Pharisees or licentious sinners. The fruit of this type of parenting definitely shows up in the teen years and is full bloom in early adulthood. Ultimately, this perspective will help distinguish between producing good children and godly children.
      • Scripture is sufficient. 2Timothy 3:16-17
    • not being consistent: Consistency is central to correction.
    • Allowing whining… that turns into resentment & rejection.
      • Our house has “No whining rule.” This includes tantrums, bad attitudes, pity-parties, etc. Are we grateful or grumbling (1Thess 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances”? Whining is not worshipful to God (Israelite history…, Php 2:14). We pray about problems (Php 4:6 “do not be anxious about anything but in prayer present your requests to God”).
    • punishment doesn’t fit wrong done 
    • ant

painful rather than pleasant

Corporal punishment applied biblically is not dangerous but advantageous. In fact, it’s more dangerous not to discipline a child.

Proverbs 13:24 “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”

Proverbs 19:18 “Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.”

Proverbs 22:15 “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.”

Proverbs 23:13-14 “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you will strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.”

The rod represents both a physical means as well as a method.[10]

Means: a spanking device to accentuate temporary and non-injuring physical pain to deter inappropriate behavior. A rod would have been a stick or staff used for measuring (1Sam 17:7), threshing (Isa 28:27) or herding sheep (Lev 27:32; Ps 23:4).

Method: a consequence to accentuate temporary and non-injuring emotional pain to deter inappropriate behavior.

  • There is a time and place.
    • A verbal warning should have been provided first. Proverbs is filled with verbal discipline. In fact, parents are to learn effective verbal discipline so that corporal discipline becomes unnecessary.
      Proverbs 10:13 “On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks sense.”
    • Time should be immediate following the disobedience to the verbal warning. Spanking is reserved for the willful defiance and disobedience and should be exercised immediately. Spanking later for an earlier behavior misses the effect.
    • The place of spanking should not be embarrassing to the child or the parent.
    • Spanking is never to be done if parent is emotional or angry.
  • There is a difference between spanking and abuse.
    • To those who say they are same, what is the line between verbal instruction & verbal abuse? Exactly, there is a line for both verbal and physical punishment.
    • The difference is in the motivation and manner of spanking.
      • The motivation should always be corrective not vengeful; disciplinary not punitive because punishment for sin has been met by Jesus.
      • The manner of spanking s should be done with respect to child as one of God’s creations and in relationship to themselves (Heb 12).
      • Never, never, never is abuse a biblical method for exercising judgment and discipline upon a child (Proverbs 23:13-14).
      • God can and does use physical suffering for our own discipline.
    • Interesting that those who say spanking is abuse to a child are often the same people/groups who advocate for abortion, which is the ultimate abuse and destruction of a child.
  • There are alternative methods
    • removal of privileges,
    • “time out” if parent is angry; “time in” for parent to hold/sit by child until ready to reassess. “Time outs” by themselves are not always effective because they allow child to be removed of punishment and immediately enter a new and perhaps rewarding environment (i.e. if toys, books, tv, friends, are in time out room…).
    • Sometimes a hug is the best and needed form of discipline. Remember, children are learning to trust God and to listen through you.

APPLY/THINK

Parenting requires patience & perseverance.

Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

Actions to take

  • Remember the challenge to have table fellowship with at least 2 (cross-generation) members from SPBC in the month of February. This can be in your home or out socially. It doesn’t have to be dinner could just be dessert, coffee or fellowship. Can be done at 1 time or 2 different times.
  • Encourage/Thank someone who has influence you as a child and as a parent.
    3John 1:4 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
  • Resources
  • Jesus of the Proverbs shows us the wise Son, yet who was disciplined by His Father for the sake of our unrighteousness.[11] Jesus made His Father glad (Prov 10:1; Mat 3:17) by receiving he rod of discipline through a Roman soldier (Prov 26:3; Mat 27:28-31).

[1] Adapted from http://www.insight.org/resources/articles/parenting/things-ive-learned-from.html?t=parenting

[2] http://www.snopes.com/glurge/12rules.asp

[3] Tedd Tripp, Shepherding A Child’s Heart, p.29.

[4] Tedd Tripp, Shepherding A Child’s Heart, p.33.

[5] Michael Bates. Disability and the Gospel: How God Uses Our Brokenness To Display His Grace. Crossway, 2012. p.17.

[6] http://www.nami.org/factsheets/mentalillness_factsheet.pdf

[7] Gary Thomas, Sacred Parenting.

[8] cf. Tedd Tripp, SACH, 84.

[9] Tripp, Shepherding A Child’s Heart, xx.

[10] John Rosemond, Parenting By The Book, 2007, p. 212.

[11] Insight from Elyse Fitzpatrick, Give Them Grace, p.99, ff.

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