The ABCs (Absolute Basic Criteria) for Raising Spiritually Sensitive Children – Part 4
The Bible provides sufficient principles for child rearing, but it does not give us a detailed blueprint for every action. Let’s keep in mind that God’s Word speaks clearly of the righteous goal for parenting: “Be ye holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).
It is my desire to show you the practical side of biblical truth. There is no greater joy than to see your children grown, serving the Lord and raising your grandchildren with the same biblical goal of holiness. Here are the next three topics ( J, K and L).
J is for Justice
I have four children, and everything has to be divided equally, right? They each get the same number of Christmas presents at the same value. They each got a car when they turned 16. They each were paid the same allowance for doing the same chores. We are fair parents who believe in justice, and God is a fair God, and so we make everything fair. Right? WRONG!
Actually this “everything has to be fair” mentality isn’t scriptural at all; re-read Matthew 20, “The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard.” It is more important to our God that we are able to rejoice in another’s blessing than that things should always be fair.
Our goal as good parents is to raise kids who won’t be envious of another’s blessing. In fact, they should have the character to congratulate and honor the one who is blessed.
We can be sure that God is a just God. He will provide all of our needs. He blesses all of his children. It is true, however, that these blessings are rarely equal.
J is for Justice. Actually it is a reminder to just forget about Justice.
K is for Kindness
“Good manners are just being kind and thinking of others. From early in the morning till the end of the day, do and say the kindest things in the kindest way.”
This is a quote from the Child’s Book of Manners that my mom read to me when I was a child and then I read it to my kids.
Kindness is a key to living a peaceful life. It is a fruit of the Spirit, and it’s a quality well worth enforcing in the lives of our kids. Training our children to be kind takes effort. Kindness is not a behavior that our children are born with; therefore, consistent training is necessary.
Being kind means to be gracious, agreeable and pleasant.
My question to you is why do you allow sibling rivalry among your children? Guess what? Sibling rivalry is not a phase that your children will outgrow. Yes, it is natural, but it must be unacceptable.
2 Peter 1:5-7 instructs us to make every effort to add to our faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
Bottom line is: If my kids are being unkind to each other, they will be in big trouble! That’s right—no excuses.
L is for love
As kids grow and become teenagers looking for love and eventually choosing a spouse to love for a lifetime, it is critical that they trust God and know the sacrificial side of true love.
LOVE: better, worse, rich, poor, healthy, sick and whatever else life may bring. On that perfect wedding day, there is no possible way to even guess all that could happen in a lifetime of loving each other.
On my wedding day, May 27, 1983, I promised to love James T. Lozano until death do us part. Isn’t that what everyone promises, before God, the minister and the well-dressed wedding guests? He was my perfect dream guy—handsome, funny, hard working, romantic and a Christian, with a wonderful family. We were head-over-heels in love.
We are all “in love” when we get married, so what’s the problem? We just don’t understand love.
I felt confident that I understood love. I had memorized 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, and it was sung beautifully at our wedding, word for word. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.”
Now fast-forward with me 19 years later: April 2002. That was the year I really began to know what it meant to LOVE my husband. We had two girls and two boys, and a successful business. We were very involved in church and had a lovely home. I was preparing to celebrate our anniversary when my husband surprised me. “I don’t love you anymore,” he said. “I have filed for a divorce, and I am moving out this weekend.” I was blindsided; I didn’t even know we were having marital problems! It was a nightmare. A trial and a test that I never imagined could ever happen to me. He had been in a relationship with a woman he reconnected with at his high school reunion the year before. I had no idea, and the shock was so horrific that I was literally trembling.
That was the beginning of my “unintended journey,” my journey to know real, genuine LOVE. A love that had nothing to do with feelings or circumstances and wasn’t about my humanity, but about God.
My children and I pressed into God and His Word to understand love in a new and real way.
1 John 4:7 says, “Let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
I recalled my wedding vows, and this definitely fit into the “worse” category. The kids and I spent the next two months studying all of the Scriptures on love and forgiveness.
Love keeps no record of wrongs, and as I’m writing this, it seems like it’s not even my life. The memory of this chapter is now so dim. One thing I know for sure is that God’s Word is true, and my family can all testify that LOVE NEVER FAILS!
Read more of these great tips from the series.
Trina Titus Lozano, mother of four grown children and grandmother of nine, is a former professor of home economics at Christ For the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, and the creator of The Home Experience Semester Course. The daughter of Devi and Larry Titus, Trina is the author of Wait the Smart Choice Abstinence Education for Public Schools and the vice president of Wonderful Days, a nonprofit organization based in Fort Worth, Texas. Trina is a counselor, cognitive therapist and popular inspirational speaker at public schools nationwide. She has been recognized by the state of Texas premarital counseling program, Twogether in TEXAS. Trina is the author of The ABC’s, Absolute Basic Criteria for Raising the Next Christian Generation and is an ordained Christian Minister. She is open and candid, and her messages apply to real-life issues. Trina and her husband James (since 1983) reside in Colleyville, Texas.