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ABCs For Single Parenting: Part 3

CC photo courtesy of Steve Snodgrass via Flickr
CC photo courtesy of Steve Snodgrass via Flickr

The ABCs (Absolute Basic Criteria) for Raising Spiritually Sensitive Children – Part 3

Third in our series on things single parents need to know to raise healthy kids. ABCs for Single Parenting: Part 3 covers G, H & I.

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 3 topics (G through I).

G is for Great

In Jim Collins’ best selling book, Good to Great, he makes the opening statement that “Good is the enemy of great.” I believe that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just too easy to settle for a good life. I will add that we don’t raise great kids, because we just want them to be good.

My grandma never allowed my mom to say “I can’t.” That “can do” attitude has been passed down from generation to generation in my family. I would recommend to my children that they re-phrase that statement to “maybe someday I will be able to,” or “through Christ all things are possible.”

Encouraging greatness in our children has nothing to do with prideful expectations, perfection or false praise. It comes from our deep-rooted understanding of God’s greatness. Teach your children 2 Corinthians 9:8: “And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may EXCEL in every good work.” Also, John 10:10 is a good one: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Practical tips on raising GREAT kids:

1) Be positive.

2) Encourage them to develop a wide range of interests and skills.

3) Find their gifts and talents.

4) Introduce them to GREAT people.

5) Don’t expect them to fulfill your dreams.

6) Teach them that God created them to be GREAT and He has a special plan for their life.

Greatness requires that we follow through until the very end, and then follow through some more. It means never giving up. The power of the Holy Spirit will help you persevere, no matter what trial may tempt you or your child to be discouraged. The Chinese poet Lao-tzu wrote, “Most people fail when they are on the verge of success, so give as much care to the end as to the beginning, then there will be no failure.”

Matthew 25:21:  His Lord said to Him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”

H is for Honor

As I pondered what “H” word I should choose to represent one of the 27 most important traits to instill in your children, I thought of many including; Hope, Hospitality, Happiness, Humility and Honesty, but Honor was the winner.

Deuteronomy 5:16  “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God has given you.”

This is the fifth of the Ten Commandments. It is the only H word that God commanded, so I figure it’s the most important. If we only teach our children 10 things, it had better be the TEN COMMANDMENTS!

How can we teach them to honor us? We must honor their grandparents. In our words and actions, our kids need to see an example of us acting honorably. Then, we have to require honor from them.

Here is the list of No-No’s for children:

1. You are not allowed to hit Mommy and Daddy.

2. You are not allowed to kick Mommy and Daddy.

3. You are never allowed to scream at Mommy and Daddy.

4. You are not allowed to disobey Mommy and Daddy.

5. You are never allowed to say “I hate you” to Mommy and Daddy.

6. You are not allowed to slam the door at Mommy and Daddy.

7. You are not allowed to push Mommy and Daddy.

8. You are not allowed to turn away when Mommy and Daddy are giving you loving hugs and kisses.

It is very important for us to teach our children to show love to us, their parents. It is important for them to draw us pictures, write us love notes, buy or make us gifts. They should help us on a busy day and take care of us when we are sick. They need to give us hugs and kisses.

We encourage this behavior from them as toddlers and all throughout their teen years. A parent should never allow dishonor from their children, but rather encourage them to show honor.

Honor your father and mother. Now that’s a commandment we can ALL do.

I is for Independent

in·de·pend·ent [in-di-pen-duhnt] Not dependent; not depending or contingent upon something else for existence.

Ed Young, in his book Kid CEO, defines parenting: The process of teaching and training your children to leave. The Bible clearly states this is what should happen: “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” Genesis 2:24

This means that children should individuate; they should become autonomous from their own parents.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train a child in the way he should GO, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Let’s notice the word “GO,” it doesn’t say “STAY,” does it?

We have in this country an epidemic of 20- and 30-something adults who are in a state of prolonged adolescence and still living at home because their parents have not embraced this parenting principle.

Mom does the cooking, cleaning and laundry, and Dad pays the bills. That’s a pretty sweet deal. But if we are doing our job as parents, this is the exact scenario we should be trying to avoid. We should actually train our children to leave and establish homes of their own.

Practical Ways to Establish Independence:

Infant – Place them in the nursery at church rather than keeping them with you.

Toddler – Enroll them in Mother’s Day Out for a few hours per week.

School age – Put them in school; even if you are homeschooling, participate in a co-op rather than having them with you 24/7.

Pre-teen – Have them very involved in church youth group activities. Avoid always volunteering with their age group. Give them space to separate from you.

Teen – Send them on an overseas mission trip—without you, of course.

Other tips – Let them travel alone on the bus, plane, train, etc. Teach them to drive as soon as the law allows. Send them away to college. Help them financially prepare for marriage and a home of their own.

That’s right, moms and dads, we are working our way out of a job. We’re teaching our kiddos to fly out of the nest and to create their own nests. Spouses stay and kids leave!

Read more of these great tips from the series.

Trina Titus Lozano 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, who has been recognized by the State of Texas premarital counseling program, Twogether in TEXAS. Trina is the author of The ABCs, 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, have four grown children and nine grandchildren.

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