Parenting Resources

Friday night we had a fun on-line parenting seminar.  Thanks to all of you who tuned it and added to the conversation.  It was fun, hopefully helpful, and we will definitely find more opportunities to do it again on different topics.

In our talk, I referenced several books and wanted to list those here for future reference:

  • “Right from Wrong” by Josh McDowell.  (Word Publishing, 1994) – This book (specifically chapter 6) was the main source I used for the content of my talk.  See my notes at the end of this post.
  • “Not Even a Hint” by Joshua Harris. (Multnomah Publishers, 2003)
  • “Questions You Can’t Ask Your Mama About Sex” by Craig Gross and Mike Foster (Youth Specialties, 2005)
  • “God’s Design for Sex” series by Stan Jones and Carolyn Nystrum.  (4 Book Series.)
  • “Parent’s Guide to the Spiritual Growth of Children” by John Trent, Rick Osborne, Kurt Bruner (Focus on the Family, 2000)

Notes from my talk:

Intro – Review Rusty’s message from Relationslips Week 3

  • Three hats parents wear
    • Groundskeeper – sets the boundaries
    • Official – enforces the rules for the good of the game.  “This is how it is supposed to be played.”
    • Coach – keeps players focussed on the bigger picture

I’m taking this information from Chapter 6 of “Right from Wrong” – “The Test of Truth” – but applying it in a more “developmental stages” idea.

  • The Test of Truth
    • Precept
    • Principle
    • Person

Proverbs 22:6  “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

  • This verse is a principle, not a promise.
  • We all as parents want so badly for this to be true!
  • This chapter gives us a framework to help it become true for our kids – to give them skills to know what is best, and to help them to choose it when they are faced with a decision.

Precept

  • The first steps in understanding something.
    • Think Math.  We have a 2nd grader who is learning addition facts.  Amy and I know that in a few years, she’ll be doing Algebra and crazy theories.
    • But right now, she NEEDS to learn that every time, without fail, 2+2=4.  Those are the precepts of Math.
  • Developmentally, we start teaching our kids to obey precepts (i.e. “rules”) from the very beginning.  Don’t wait until “they’re big enough to understand.  They are learning authority and obedience from day one.
  • Every time, without fail, we follow God’s precepts.
  • Psalm 119:9 – “How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to your word.”  God’s Precepts.
  • Galatians 3:24 NASB – “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ.”
  • Precepts aren’t the end.  The Bible isn’t about a list of do’s and don’ts that we simply obey for obedience’s sake any more than my daughter has to learn 2+2=4 for addition’s sake.
  • Precepts lead us to the next step of understanding…

Principle

  • Behind each specific command (precept) is a principle.
  • Principles explain the “WHY” behind the precept.
    • Honesty is the principle behind “Thou shall not lie.”  Honesty is a better way to live than lying.
    • Value for life is the principle behind “Thou shall not kill.”  Loving people and helping them live and succeed is a better way to live than murder.
  • Principles help us see the right/best way to live, not just a list of rules to keep.
  • My 10 year old son has entered this stage.  He wants to know why he needs to make right decisions when many of his friends don’t.
    • He sees it a lot in areas of respect.  Respect for authorities like parents.  Respect for property.  Respect for other people, like his little sisters and the twerpy kid on the block.
    • I have had to have many conversations with him explaining the WHY behind the rules we have enforced in our home.
  • But Principles for life aren’t even the end.  There is a motiving factor for behavior even beyond that.  It is one we as parents often need to relearn every day…

Person

  • Precepts and principles have one job – to teach us about God and His Character.
  • The ultimate purpose of God in every precept is to bring people to the knowledge of Himself.
    • Don’t murder – Value life – Life comes from God – He IS life.
    • Don’t lie – Honesty is the best policy – God IS truth
    • Don’t talk back – Respect and listen to people who have authority over you – God is our authority AND His ways are best by far
  • Moses said in Ex 33 “Teach me your ways so I may know you.”

Precepts – Boundaries – Right and Wrong = must be learned early

Principles – The “Why’s” in life – the reason behind the rule = help life make sense and show us the best way to live

Person of God – His Character = our ultimate goal

We are not raising kids.  We are raising adults.  When my children are adults, I want them to know and have the character of God.  That starts with obeying His precepts, understanding his principles, and finally embracing his character.

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