Text: Psalm 127:3-5, Proverbs 22:6, Malachi 2:15, Ephesians 6:4
Upbringing of children in a Christian home is the care and training of children from childhood to adulthood. It is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood in a Christ centred environment; an environment where the parents or giver of the care and training depicts an epitome of Christ's love.
The scripture says in Psa 127: 3-5 "Children are an heritage of The Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hands of a mighty man, so are children. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them, they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate." They are to give you joy and to empower you later in life. It is a privilege to have them and also it is a responsibility.
What does upbringing entail?
It entails Godliness, availability, caring, loving, teaching, supervision, provision, commitment, meeting children’s needs, defending and protecting the children. Also God expects godly seeds from parents. Malachi 2:15. It implies that you have to be godly parents. Fresh and salt water cannot come out from the same spring (James 3:11), therefore for you to be able to produce godly seeds, you must be godly. The Scripture says in Deut 6: 6-7, "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up". God also expects you to impress his commands on your children. You have to impart the knowledge of God on them.
In the early years of child-hood, the closest people to children are their parents. Therefore parents must love each other so as to implant love in the children and the children can learn how to love each other, neighbours and even themselves. It is the responsibility of the parents to evangelize them and lead them to Christ. The scripture says in Prov 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it." You have to create time for them from babyhood and to demonstrate your love to them.
It is a common knowledge that children brought up in a loving and caring home with the love of Christ and the help of the Holy Spirit are always emotionally and psychologically stable. Correct them in love and do not withhold discipline. The scripture says in Prov 23: 13-14 "Do not withhold discipline from a child, if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death." The father chastises the son he loves. Discipline is part of training. It helps good mannerism and also helps children to go the way you would want them to go. Celebrate and motivate them when there is need to. These encourage children to put up their best.
At the same time parents must not provoke their children to anger, instead bring them up in the training and instruction of The Lord as in Eph 6:4. Do not embitter them or they will be discouraged as written in Col 3:21. They should be guided and protected from people who are likely to abuse them. Parents must be watchful. Raise them up to love The Lord and be good ambassadors of Christ. Children watch and emulate fast. Be careful of what you model at home. Parents have to be good role models. However, children cannot be isolated from the environment and community. Let them be aware of what operates outside the home. This will help them to cope, adjust and be stable. It also helps them not to mal-adjust. Most of the antisocial behaviours seen in the society among the human race all over the world could be traced to lack of proper upbringing or parenting. Parenting is a lifelong process. May The Lord help you fulfil this obligation. Amen.
Some Tips to assist in upbringing .
- Feed them with well- balanced diet.
- Give them training on toilet usage, table manners, respect for elders and authority.
- Teach them how to love and share with others.
- Provide them the best education.
- Impart the right attitude, moral values and holy living in them.
- Monitor the programme they watch on Television .
- Help them in their studies.
- Know the friends they move with.
- Protect them and be watchful.
- Lead them to Christ.
- Communicate with them and avoid communication gap.
- Meet their needs to a reasonable extent.
- Do not compare them with other children and let them know they are special, unique and fearfully made.
- Love all the children equally and don't have a favourite among them.
- Counsel them in areas of careers and choice of life partner in a godly manner.
- Train them to be diligent.
- Ensure the home environment helps them to be stable spiritually, morally, physically, emotionally and socially.
Father, I know it is by your grace to be a parent. Grant me the wisdom, grace, spiritual endowment and material resources that I need to be able to produce godly seeds that you expect from me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.