Saturday, May 21, 2016

7 Tips On Christian Parenting in These Times

Things are getting irrational out there. In fact, not just irrational, but dangerously insane. And we as parents have a responsibility to protect our children, not just physically and mentally, but spiritually.

All children, even grown ones, should feel they can depend upon their fathers and mothers during times of crisis. It is never too late to be the source of strength for your offspring.  And the older and more experienced you are the more you are needed today.

So, how do we as Christians deal with parenting in these evil days? Here are but a few things I can highly recommend.

1. Do Not Ignore Problems

A common mistake parents make is to ignore or try to put a positive spin on reality. Most children older than six sense the danger of our times merely by turning on any social media. No matter how well protected from the "world" your children  are, do not assume they don't realize something is wrong. They listen, they see, and they will automatically panic if their parents stick their heads in the sand and flippantly dismiss or downplay problems.  

Parents who continually joke or minimize problems often increase the stress in children because they lose trust in their authorities. If children believe their parents to be jokesters or irresponsible they often will feel more vulnerable and helpless. 

Here is a rule of thumb: if you are joking to keep yourself from stressing, kids sense it and that will increase your children's panic. So don't joke for your own comfort or to draw attention to yourself.
Rather, let them see you acting responsibly. If you are using humor to calm your kids down and they see that you are in control and not minimizing danger, then you are safe to sparingly joke. 

Another suggestion. Be prudent when using the phrase, "Give it to Jesus." Children innately understand that God gave them you, their parents, to protect them. Some children misunderstand this statement as a parent rejecting or even abandoning their God-given responsibility to protect them. 

Let you children see your confidence in Christ and your ability as a Christian to handle even the worst of situations. Let them know you clearly see the problems in the world and are soberly, maturely and actively seeking solutions. Firmly let them know that with God, you got this... You will not fail to take care of them. 

2. Do Not Obsess Over Problems

Don't overdo point number one as far as discussing danger with your children. I have made the mistake of thinking my children didn't understand how dangerous the culture was. So I discussed news items to prove my position. 

I was told by my children that they didn't need a daily rundown of terrorizing headlines. Their calm demeanor was a coping mechanism of belief, not of disbelief, that times are bad. Our youth are scared out there. Even if they don't show it.

Let them see your confidence in Christ and your ability as Christians to handle even the worst of situations. (I know I am repeating number one--but this is crucial for both sides of the panic spectrum.) To balance your children, do not ignore nor constantly discuss the problems of the world. 

3. Make a Plan

If your children are eighteen-years-old or older and are interested, show them a game plan of what you are going to do so that they know there is a game plan to handle the cultural stresses of being a Christian in a post-Christian world. And usually that means parents need to come up with one! Be sure and base it on the principles of God's Word.

(For example: What will you do to protect your children in public restrooms? What will you do if your business is pressured to support what you consider immoral? Will you quit? Where is that line that you will not cross?) It's a good idea to think these things through and make a plan even if your children never see it.   

Now, how does a parent prepare himself or herself to be that strong, Christian who is capable of dealing with these evil times? I mean, you shouldn't lie to your children. We need to really be prepared. It is possible and you must do it! You owe it to your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren not to fail them. Right now, let's be frank, everyone, even the adults could use a few spiritually, emotionally prepared adults out there.

4. Seek Wisdom

Our Father in heaven, didn't abandon us in these times. He has given us ample resources to draw strength from so that we may be good parents. Among the most necessary things we need is wisdom.

Wisdom is not something you acquire passively. The Bible says we are to seek out wisdom; the pearl is there for those who sell all to purchase the land and then dig for it. That takes effort and planning. 

Scriptures tell us that fear of the Lord is the
beginning of wisdom. That is a good place to begin. Renew a commitment to daily studying of scripture and prayer. In these days, a quick five minute devotion will not do. Sacrifice some time you had carved out to watch television or go to a game. Spend it with God and diligently pray for wisdom. 

Begin a daily routine of asking God for wisdom, then pick up a few books. I recommend Church history books. Other Christians have had to deal with what we are dealing with now. Our experience is hardly new. Read about what the saints and martyrs of the past have done during troubling times. God has given us a cloud of witnesses out there who have written much to help guide you into wisdom. 

5. Put on the Armor of God

Scripture tells us how we can spiritually prepare for when the evil day comes. I recommend reading through the book of Ephesians often, but chapter 6, verses 10-18 are especially helpful:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to standStand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

6. Pray for Courage

When you are seeking wisdom, truth, righteousness with all of your heart and mind and soul, things will get rough. It is not an easy road, but keep in mind this is for your children and grandchildren and they are worth all the struggle and sacrifice. 

It is going to take a lot of courage. And as in all the things you will need for this spiritual battle, courage is a freely given grace of God. Pray for it. Make prayer your first line of defense in this battle to defend your children in today's world. 

And have faith that God will give you the joy and peace, courage and wisdom to be a hero for your children. You can guide them through the treacherous waters that lie just ahead. The light of your holiness (given freely to you by Christ) is a reflection of His light. And that is not deflecting from God, that is the responsibility God has given you as parents. Be a holy saint for them. 

7. Do Not Forget the Assembling Together

God never meant for us to handle things on our own. There is wisdom and strength and courage in Christian unity. Reach out to other Christian parents. Pray together. 
For some types of Christians it is easy to fall to the temptations of an us-against-them mindset. Scriptures tells us that is is in unity we are perfected. Don't isolate yourself and fear you are alone. Christ's Body on earth, His people need to stay close during these times. 

God bless you as He calls you and makes you parents for a time such as this.