Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 (NAS)

Since it was Mother’s Day this past Sunday I changed up my normal approach to Mother’s Day and spoke about parenting instead of just talking about moms. I will do the same with the second part of that message on Father’s Day in June. But in case anyone was a little curious about the outline here is the basic components of this past week’s message:

1. The first value to teach children is that a good name is better than riches (v. 1)
We have to learn that God wants a person of character and godly reputation more than us being rich. While money is the roots of all kinds of evil most of them seem unrelated and invisible to that specific issue.

2. The second value to teach our children is everyone has equal value (v 2)
Everyone is created in the image of God and therefore everyone has equal value before God. No matter if we agree with people or not we need to value and respect people as image bearers of God.

3. The third values to teach out kids is wise people have a spiritual driven moral compass
Morality is a critical there is right and wrong and needs to be defined by God. The naïve have a moral compass but it is not grounded in God’s truth and leaves them vulnerable to bad choices. Consequences are a critical part of training or dedicating them to the Lord. I believe that parents should use age appropriate consequences in raising their kids.

4. The fourth value is humility that fears the Lord (v. 4)
Spiritual training is essential but not the only component of training. The hard thing to convince many parents is that they are the primary spiritual Disciplemakers of their kids. They cannot default to letting the church take over that roll. Successful spiritual training should result in kids living with humility and fearing the Lord.

5. The fifth value is a person who guards their heart –
Not everything is healthy in life. The heart is vulnerable if we do not protect and guard our hearts from choking down any and every idea that we come across. The heart is the essence of life and it needs protecting from evil and vile things. It is important that parents know that many times in life “no” is the right answer.

6. The value of stewardship and handling money (v. 7)
The crippling effect of debt is devastating. Children need to be taught how to handle money and be good stewards of what God provides. I think it is great for parents to teach their children the value of work and regardless if the give an allowance or have them earn it through chores children need to be taught to handle money appropriately.

7. The value of understanding sin
Children need to learn as early in life as possible the righteousness of God. One of the greatest tensions in parenting is showing our kids they are greatly loved, have great intrinsic value and yet are in need of a savior.

8. The value of being generous (9)
Being a good steward does not mean selfishly hording money, time or other resources. If children learn by their parents example to share and be generous with their stuff they will learn to be generous as they grow up. The key is to learn to give without the expectation of entitlements.

9. The value of a pure heart and being gracious (11)
Grace is a critical reflection of the character of God and needs to be seen in God’s people. Our inability to show grace to others often means a deficient understanding of God’s grace to us. One of the best evidences of heart of grace is how we talk to and about others. The challenge is that kids often learn this from mom and dad.

To all those still learning how to be the best parents possible… from a parent who is still learning!

Brad Little