My homegroup (couples bible study) at church is going through a book called "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp. It 's been a very thought provoking book for many of us. Our group has couples with little babies all the way up to couples with teenagers. We are ALL learning and being challenged. So, I thought I would put up some excerpts from the book and see how they challenge you.
"Having well-behaved children is not a worthy goal. It is a great secondary benefit of biblical childrearing, but an unworthy goal in itself."
"If your objectives are anything other than 'Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever,' you teach your children to function in the culture on its terms. How do we do this? We pander to their desires and wishes. We teach them to find their soul's delight in going places and doing things. We attempt to satisfy their lust for excitement. We fill their young lives with distractions from God. We give them material things that take delight in their delight in possessions. Then we hope that somewhere down the line they will see that a life worth living is found only in knowing and serving God. In terms of Godward orientation, we are training them in the idolatry of materialism."
"What about academic goals? Parents typically pressure their children to get good grades. Are good grades a biblical objective? What scripture passages would support this objective?.......... In contrast, there should be no pressure for good grades at all. Grades are unimportant. What is important is that your child learn to do his work diligently for God. God has promised that He will reward the faithful. Knowing that gifts and abilities are a stewardship from the Lord, your child's objective should be faithfulness. You need to train your child to find in Christ the strength and power to work for God's glory. Anything else is training him to think and act unbiblically."
Those are just a few excerpts...there is so much more. There is one scripture that really stood out to me as well.
"See that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." Colossians 2:8
There are so many books out there on child rearing that preach about how to have a well behaved child....how to have a well-adjusted child.....how to have a confident child.......how to raise a successful child.....
As Christians we need to be careful. We need to ask ourselves if what we are pushing on our kids is actually biblical or if we are being fooled by the principles of this world. All of the things I previously mentioned are not bad or wrong...but they should not be our primary goal in raising our children. They WILL BE secondary benefits if we truly train our children in the ways of the Lord. Their relationship with God should ALWAYS be our primary focus. We should always be trying to direct and shepherd their hearts back towards God.