Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
What does the discipline and instruction of the Lord mean? I suggest that means the bible as a whole. There is so much in God’s word that we can use to bring up our children. One of the things I struggle with constantly when parenting is remaining patient. Patience is a fruit of God’s spirit. If I am to teach my children how to be patient, I will first have to be able to do it myself. The first part of this verse is addressing anger, which I don’t believe has to be taught. Our children will get frustrated all on their own, usually because they don’t understand the situation. We must explain to our children the situation and discourage anger like behaviour, which is not a fruit of God’s spirit.
I am guilty of looking at other parents and judging them based on the behaviour of their children. As I am sure most people do. I try not to do this but sometimes the thoughts just slip out. Following these thoughts are great opportunities to pray for people. If it looks like they are struggling, they probably are. I can be awkward to offer assistance sometimes but you never know unless you ask!
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
Training is commitment. We need to be committed to showing our children what direction they need to go in life. If we do, they will not doubt themselves when the time comes for them to choose what path to go down in life. In my opinion, there are two paths, Jesus, and everything else.
Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. Colossians 3:21
Every parent want the very best for their children, and for them to exceed themselves in every way. It’s that very thought which drives us to push our children to do better constantly. I think maybe this scripture means to just let our children be children sometimes.
I had a heart to heart with a person who was probably the most atheistic person I’ve ever met. We just could not seem to see eye to eye on anything. He thought that there were far to many rules about being a Christian, and therefore must mean that it just isn’t any fun. If you have not ever taken part in the “Alpha course”, an introduction into Christianity, I highly recommend you do. There is one story Nikky Gumble tells about children playing a game of soccer. The first game the children played they did not have any rules to follow. Needless to say the game was chaos. There were no boundaries, penalties or off side. Anything goes when there are no rules. You could visually tell that the children were not enjoying themselves. The second game that the children played had all of the normal rules of soccer enforced. In short, the children had more fun. I believe it is our job as fathers to show our children how to enjoy life in Christ, within the boundaries that he gave us.