I like this article by Christina Fox here. I guess many Christian’s if asked why parenting is hard, would answer, “because my kids have sinful hearts.”
That’s true, but Christiana focuses on the fact that parenting is hard because my heart as a parent is also sinful, and my Heavenly Father wants to use my relationship with my children to refine and renew my heart, in order that I follow him as his child more fully.
Your children will spit on your pastoring if they miss out on your fathering
More wisdom from John Piper’s son Barnabas here.
One of the really helpful features of the New City Catechism is that it has been developed with both children and adults in mind. For example, the first question and answer
Q. What is our only hope in life and death?
A. That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Saviour Jesus Christ.
The bold parts of each answer are meant for young children to learn (I wonder how old before graduating onto the whole answer?).
I’m looking forward to starting these with at least some of our children later this week.
Kathy Keller talks about catechism with kids – the reasons, joys and pitfalls on the other side of this link.
It’s Father’s Day in the UK tomorrow and we’ll be thinking about holy fatherhood tomorrow morning from Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21. In his post here, Glenn Stanton picks up on Lewis’ words that because our God is a Father, fatherhood is at the core of the universe. What are the implications of our God, the Eternal Father? Stanton says this means
that the universe is not a dark, empty, impersonal place. Just the opposite. At its core, it is an overwhelmingly warm, relational, personal place. This explains why broken and unhealthy relationships, loneliness, and abandonment are among the most painful of human experiences.
God’s essential Fatherhood also means the devil
loathes our fathers and those of us who are fathers. He recognizes fatherhood’s power. He recognizes each earthly father’s iconic nature. He realizes the pain it causes God and his image-bearing creatures when fatherhood is corrupted. And this delights our mortal enemy.
It’s worth reading the whole article, whether you are a father or not.
You’ll find 10 helpful tips for going to church with your family below and they are explained more over here.
The only thing I’d quibble with is the working out of No. 6 – Stay until the end. That’s fine but I think we can do better than merely opting to district children with toys and books while the adults talk or serve. That makes church look as if it is an adult only activity. Better to involve the little people as well, before, during and after our gathered worship. And here’s a link to a great resource to help think about how to do that.
1. Go every Sunday
2. Go with joy and expectation
3 Arrive on time
4. Pray as a family before you arrive
5. Treat church as an extended family gathering
6. Stay until the end
7. Speak well of church
8. Receive the word with thankfulness
9. Look for new people and people with needs
10. Thank your minister
Somebody asked me last week for a list of books / resources we’ve found helpful on parenting from a Biblical viewpoint. Granted we’ve only had four and a bit years to work through all of the wisdom to be found below, we would recommend the following:
Standing on the Promises: What has God called us to as Christian parents? Wilson’s book helps in thinking through establishing a faithful Christian culture within our homes that will shape our children as they grow to maturity.
Shepherding a Child’s Heart: With a similar approach and message to his brother’s DVDs (see below), Tedd got there first. This is a great book in helping you think how to deal with your child’s heart and not just trying to get them to conform to your desired behavioural requirements.
Getting to the heart of Parenting: Paul Tripp’s DVD is a series of accessible seminars on the need for parents to deal with their child’s heart rather than using their greater power to temporarily change their child’s behaviour. Excellent material for parents of tots right through to teens.
Loving the Little Years: A collection of biblical thoughts on mothering young children – for when you are motivated, for when you are discouraged, for times when discipline seems fruitless, and for when you are just plain tired.
Future Men: Is a must whether you’ve got boys or whether you’ve got girls that will one day be looking to marry boys. How to bring up boys to be biblically masculine, full of believing friendship, courage, faithfulness and integrity.
Parenting in the Pew: Full of thoughts and ideas for not merely keeping your children quiet during gathered worship, but to help them engage in worship as something that is for them from their youngest years.
Babywise: Written by Christians but not explicitly a Christian book. A really helpful book to support new parents practically establish life-patterns that ensure your bundle of joy doesn’t become the idol of your heart or the ruler of your home.