Raising Godly Children
By Shae Hamrick
The notion of raising children brings fear to the hearts of some. Others charge right in, only to be bewildered later. Most already know that raising children is not for the lazy or faint of heart. Children will challenge even the strongest of persons.
Then to raise children who follow after God, well ....
On the one hand, it would seem so simple. Raise them with discipline, self-control, and logic. Add in a sprinkle of kindness, love, and selflessness. Then mix in plenty of Bible teaching and church attendance. Wait patiently and wa la ... one godly child, grown to maturity.
Umm, hold on a sec. My experience hasn't quite gone that direction. I try to discipline them, but those puppy dog eyes and crocodile tears are so persuasive. Self-control they have plenty of as well as control of me. Their logic never fails to amaze me. Kindness, love, and selflessness they receive in full. I'm just hoping eventually to get more than I give. Teaching they have from their peers in abundance, I just couldn't say it's very biblical. What they learn through leaves me with plenty of material for biblical instruction and correction.
I'm still waiting for the wa la, so I checked out some biblical parents to see what I was doing wrong. Adam and Eve were the first. Among others, they had Cain and Abel. Well, I suppose one rotten apple out of so many isn't too bad. They were just starting the whole thing after all. Moving on we come to Abraham and Sarah who had Isaac and Ishmael. I think their descendants are still fighting each other. Lets move on to Jacob's sons. Wait. Didn't the ten brothers sell the one?
Surely, there is something in the Bible about how to raise godly children. Samuel was very godly and his mother only raised him for five years before taking him to the temple. Eli couldn't have made the difference as his own sons strayed and were destroyed because of it. And of course we have the excellent example of Solomon. He most assuredly was godly. Daniel was a man of great holy character. Then there are Nehemiah, Elisha, Elijah, and Moses.
Aha. I see a pattern. The faith and prayers of their families, and of themselves. Their parents prayed for them, dedicated them, and believed God for them. They in turn became children of prayer and faith. But others surely prayed for their sons and daughters.
No matter how hard I try, my children are their own persons with desires and thoughts and ways. I can shape and mold them only so far. This is true of all of us. We tend to wander in different directions, do different things, and even believe differently. And so it is with children.
I cannot raise a godly child. Only God can.
No matter how much I push, pull, or brace, I make very little impression on my children's ways. Yet, each one of my attempts do leave impressions. The biggest impressions come from my prayers and my waiting. The best thing for my children has been to let them go within limits and pray they come back with scars but no major injuries.
Much like adults, children learn more from their mistakes. Being there afterwards with encouragement, forgiveness, and loving biblical correction does far more for my children than any warning I have given.
I must trust God, send them off like Samuels to the temple, and pray for them. For in the end, only they and God can determine if they will choose to be godly or not.
As for me and my husband, we will serve the Lord and pray for all the children, especially ours.