Raising children calls for responsibility and a tremendous commitment second only to our commitment to God and to our spouse. Unless we have reached some point of maturity in these first two commitments, we won't have much success with raising our children to become mature individuals at peace with their own inner being. Raising children successfully requires a mature, committed and responsible set of parents, who lay a foundation of love, respect and trust as the standard for their home. (If you are a single parent, God will fill in for the other parent if you trust Him and have faith in Him for that.)
Many parents are not able, because of their own insecurities and lack of maturity (I was one of these), to teach their children the things necessary for them to grow up at peace with themselves. Not only do the parents have an emptiness and lack of inner peace inside that can't be filled but their children also acquire this inner emptiness. This inner empty place that can't be filled by any human being is reserved for God and He is the only one who can build a foundation there. This foundation God builds is formed of love, honor and respect, first for Himself and the individual, then He builds a foundation of unconditional love for the individual and his/her spouse. After these first foundations are laid, He prepares a place of love and nuture for their children. What a wonderful groundwork for a family!
If we failed in any area and want to begin this foundation after our children are already in place, this is the best part! This is what Jesus's purpose is, to restore what has been stolen by the enemy. The enemy is that within ourselves that messed everything up..it is our mistakes. Living in this world, we can't help but make mistakes. When we aknowledge our mistakes and surrender them to God with a spirit of humility, knowing we can't correct our mistakes ourselves, we open the door for the Lord to begin work in our lives. We begin a walk with God where He leads us and directs our path. He teaches us responsibility and commitment, first to Himself and then to the others He has placed in our lives.
We learn responsibility by being held accountable for our mistakes by someone in higher authority who is fair but unfaltering in their established boundaries. This is God's way to teach us (as His children) the new way of life established through His son, and this is also the example God sets for parents to follow with their children. Parents are to fill this empty place in their children with a foundation of love, respect and correction just as God does in them. Parents who establish fair and solid boundaries in their home concerning actions, events and discipline, are building a foundation for their children to grow this within themselves. Homes without this foundation leave children on their own, trying to emotionally survive in a confusing world where truth is lacking. Parents tell them one thing and do another. The children learn to manipulate their parents and lie to get their own way.
Today a lot of emphasis is placed on the well being of children and how to raise them fairly and lovingly. However, some ideas have become misunderstood and discipline and boundaries have been placed in a bad light. This is a terribly sad situation for children because many are placed in a position of being in control of their own lives. Children are not meant to be in control of their own lives, they are meant to be taken care of by loving, mature parents and taught and trained to gain inner control. At the proper ages, they begin to understand what their responsibilites are and these responsibilities are instilled by the training of parents with fairness and discipline.
A husband and wife, (mother and father) build a home in which to raise their children. A home is a place where first and foremost love dwells and where a strong and loving father makes sure everything is in place for everyone's needs to be met to the best of his ability. His position is an overseer, guarding and guiding his family with fairness, strength and tenderness. A wife and mother is by his side, nurturing and warm to her husband and children, trusting in the firm foundation laid by him and developed by them together. As loving partners on the same path, they trust, respect and believe in each other as well as their children. They set up a standard in their home which they teach their children to follow.
There are no double standards but parents can do things children are not allowed to because they are adults and the children learn and respect this. Parents can stay up late but the children have a bedtime according to the parental rules. Children can't go anywhere they want or do anything they want but sometimes parents or older children can do many things younger children can't. Parents should expect their children to respect them by being respectful toward their rules.
It is entirely appropriate for children to have different rules and disciplines according to age and level of responsibility. Both older and younger children should be taught to respect this order of rules set up by their parents. Discipline should be agreed upon by both parents and clearly explained to the children. Then if there is a breach of respect, it should be administered as laid out by the parents as immediately after the event as possible. This builds trust and security in a child. He/she knows if they go past the boundaries they do not have to trust in themselves and be left hanging, but their mother or father will back up what they said. This develops trust in authority which throughout childhood builds an inner foundation for future maturity and faith in God. All of this develops personal security and self-respect which helps the child gain clarity of thought for making wise choices, being able to make a commitment to his/her choices and accepting the responsibility those choices create.
Fortunate are children with parents who follow this standard in themselves and build this foundation into their home.
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