Category Archives: Parents

A Perspective on Parenting

Over the years I have taught many parenting classes and although I love teaching parents “what to do” I often say the best counsel I may have for you is to offer perspective on mistakes I’ve made so that you don’t have to make them too. Below is a quote from a dad who is looking back at his parenting years. He notes many things he would have done differently. I think this is valuable counsel and wanted to share it with you. It’s important to learn from those who have gone before us. To so learn is a sign of wisdom.

Quoted from Brave Dad by John MacArthur

One father, looking at the parenting process in retrospect, said this: “If I were starting my family again, I would love my wife more in front of my children. I would laugh with my children more at our mistakes and our joys. I would listen to my children more, even to the littlest one. I would be more honest about my weaknesses and not pretend perfection. I would pray differently for my family. Rather than focusing on them, I’d focus on me. I would do more things with my children. I would do more encouraging. I would bestow more praise. I would pay more attention to little things. I would speak about God more intimately. Out of every ordinary thing of every ordinary day I would point them to Christ.”

May God help us all to reflect about our parenting and seek His grace to live for the important rather than the urgent.

Always by His grace,

Pastor Ron

Book Review: Parenting by Paul David Tripp

Paul David Tripp writes, “If someone were to ask you what the ultimate job of a parent is, what would you answer? Well, your answer is here. Your job is to do everything within your power, as an instrument in the hands of the Redeemer who has employed you, to woo, encourage, call, and train your children to willingly and joyfully live as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is more important than how they do in school, or how positively they contribute to the reputation of your family, or how well they set themselves up for a future career, or how well they do in sports and the arts, or how well they are liked by adults and peers.”

From the above quote you can see that Tripp’s book isn’t about the latest strategies and methodologies to use with your children (though some instruction on this can be helpful). His focus is more fundamental. He wants to draw our attention once again to the heart of parenting. To do this he lays out 14 gospel-saturated principles that will revolutionize first how you think about this highest of callings, and once convinced will dramatically affect how you work it out in practice. Continue reading Book Review: Parenting by Paul David Tripp

Affirming your child

As parents we want the best for our children. We want to see them flourish and experience life at its best. But sometimes we approach the attaining of this fine goal in the wrong way. We excessively correct or critique our child(ren) doing this in the name of helping them be their God-given best. We push them to achieve raising the bar higher and higher wanting them to reach their full potential. And these are not bad things in and of themselves, but many times a steady diet of only these things can lead to discouragement in our child(ren), even wanting to give up and not try because they never seem to meet the standard.

An important antidote or balance to the above measures is to practice biblical affirmation with our child(ren). Biblical affirmation is like praise, but with one very important difference. It ties the praise to the originator of the gift. It looks at what is commendable in the child, and offers commendation, but does so in a way that honors the source of the commendable trait, namely the Lord Jesus.

So, as you consider how the Lord has blessed your child, you see that He has endowed him with a great mind. You recognize that that great mind is a mere reflection of the Lord who has complete understanding of all things. You recognize that it is a gift of the Lord’s grace. So, when your child brings home a paper with an “A” grade, or a report card full of good grades, it is important to commend this, but in doing so to acknowledge the source of this wonderful gift. “It is so neat to see you using the wonderful mind God has given to you. It must bring you great joy to know how He has blessed you in this way. Well done!” Such affirmations should be coming from you, the parent, far more times than your corrections.

In his book, Practicing Affirmations, Sam Crabtree, shares a personal story within his family. He noted that his 11 year old daughter was growing increasingly distant, becoming less and less communicative. He recognized that he was loosing the battle for his daughter’s heart and this grieved him because he knew little girls need input from their dad. So what could he do? He states, “I determined that this eleven-year-old daughter whom I loved would receive more praise from me than from anyone else on the face of the globe. I became a student of her. I thought, if I have to stay up nights thinking of ways to commend her, then I will, because she is going to need to hear from her father.” The story ends well as Crabtree saw a transformation in his daughter that the Lord brought about by the means of his intentional and biblical affirmations.

Now lest you think this is only a psychological technique, take a look at 1 Thessalonians 1. There you will see Paul giving biblical affirmation. He commends their labor of love, work of faith, and perseverance of hope. He affirms their becoming imitators of Paul to such an extent that their witness is known all around. And does he just leave it there? No, he unites this wonderful commendation to the work of God in their hearts: How they turned from idols to serve the living God. How this amazing transformation is due to the Lord having loved them and chosen them.

Parents, as you seek your child’s best interest, sprinkle in large doses of biblical affirmation. It may be the ingredient the Lord uses to bring your child to flourish in His life.

Myths of Modern Parenting, Part VI

Myth #7: The main role of a parent is to protect their children from the influences of our evil world.

Observation: Many parents operate from a protective mindset. Fearful of how the world might influence their child they seek to control everything the child does. They try to keep them from bad companions, bad movies, evil music, liberal families,…

Problem: Now seeking to protect your child is not an evil thing – in fact, it is part of the parental mandate – but the fact is this kind of parenting has several downsides.

First, by itself it is incomplete. Psalm 127:1 is instructive here. It says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.”

From this verse we can see a dual role – both protection, guarding, watching over, and also building up. Continue reading Myths of Modern Parenting, Part VI

Myths of Modern Parenting, Part V

Children thrive when church and home work together
Children thrive when church and home work together

Myth #6: The church is providing my child’s spiritual education so I can focus on other things at home.

Observation: Some parents put all their “eggs” in the proverbial “church basket”. They reason that it is the church’s job to provide a spiritual education for their children.

Problem: The problem with this reasoning is manifold. First, the Scriptures are clear that “parents are to bring up their children in the nurture and instruction of the Lord”. It is the calling of parents to pass on the faith to their children. It is their primary role. Now that is not to say that the church has no role in educating children. I firmly believe that God has given gifts to the church, and that we need to expose our children to all of those gifts including the teaching gifts of others.

A second problem is the usual result of this approach. I have found that the children least equipped to handle the pressures of our ungodly world system Continue reading Myths of Modern Parenting, Part V

Myths of Modern Parenting, Part III

Myth #3: The goal of good parents is to make their children happy.

Observation: Many parents today work very hard to make their children happy. The principle way they attempt to do this is often by giving in to their children’s desires. They shower their children with possessions and experiences all designed to put a smile on their faces. They order their lives around the child’s whims and wishes.

Problem: Now it is not a bad thing to seek your child’s happiness, but an approach that focuses solely on the child’s desires is sure to backfire. Children who have been reared by such well-intentioned parents often grow up to be demanding, always wanting more, having a sense of entitlement, ungrateful, often unwilling to give of themselves for the good of others. Ultimately, the happiness such parents desired for their children ends up being extremely illusive. Continue reading Myths of Modern Parenting, Part III

Myths of Modern Parenting, Part II

Myth #2: I am too busy to serve in my church

Observation: A lot of parents who get sucked up in myth #1 (believing they have to have their children in every imaginable activity to be a good parent) often get sucked into myth #2. Because they are running around from activity to activity they feel the one area that they can cut back on is their involvement in their local church. And I have observed many parents make this choice.

Problem: The problem with this is that it contradicts the very essence of what it means to be a Christian. Ephesians 4, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, 1 Peter 4 all make it clear that to be a Christian is to be a member of the Body. Christianity is not an individualistic enterprise – it is very much about community. That is why our God has described Himself as a Tri-unity – as God in community – 3 persons in one. To make a decision to forego service in the body is to make a decision to live contrary to what God has made us to be. Continue reading Myths of Modern Parenting, Part II

Celebrating Advent – the coming of Christ

As the calendar approaches the final month of the year it is important to ask ourselves the question, “What will the focus of this season be?” It is easy to just let things happen – all the shopping, parties, rushing around, family gatherings… It is easy for these things to take prominence. But we have to ask, “Is that really what we want to happen?” Would it not be better to bring more intentionality into this sacred season?

Most of us would likely agree that we want to keep Christ in our celebrations, but there is so much “cultural inertia” pushing us toward a superficial celebration. Is there anything families can do to celebrate in a more meaningful way? Continue reading Celebrating Advent – the coming of Christ

Why I want more children in our Children’s Ministry

This past Wednesday I taught a lesson to our 5th and 6th grade LOGOS boys. We looked together at Isaiah 6. In the passage we were treated to a vision of our great God. He was seated on a throne that was high and lifted up. We talked about our world having thrones for kings and presidents, but this throne was lifted up beyond them all.

We saw that the Lord wore a robe whose train filled the temple. We explained that for kings the longer the train… the greater their supposed glory. This description of our Lord’s train reminded us that His glory is beyond the most glorious of human rulers.

We observed the seraphim that attended the Lord on the throne. They are the “burning ones” who have a glory of their own, but before the Lord whose glory fills the heavens and the earth, these angelic beings had to cover themselves, for their glory does not even compare to the glory of the Lord.

We spoke together about the words of the seraphim. They said, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of His glory”. We noted that the angels ascribed three times that the Lord is “holy”. We learned that when someone wants to emphasize something they often say something two times, but when they want to say something is “out of this world – in another league” they might say it three times. So holy, so set apart, so uncommon, so unlike sinful humans is our God! He is indeed “holy”!

We also noted that there was a rumbling, even a trembling of the temple. So awesome, so glorious is our Lord, that His presence causes the most secure things to shake.

Being confronted with such a vision of God Almighty, Isaiah could only declare, Continue reading Why I want more children in our Children’s Ministry

Every Child Made New in Christ

Every Child Made New in Christ

For most families with children the new school year has already begun. Children, equipped with a plethora of school supplies, have made their way to meet new teachers and students (unless, of course, they are schooled at home) commencing another year of studies.

At Camelback we are gearing up for the new year as well. We have been bringing new teachers and helpers into the ministry. Training sessions are planned and will be taking place over the next few weeks. We’ve evaluated curriculum and other aspects of the ministry and will be introducing some new things.

Our hearts desire is to effectively minister to children (and their parents) in line with our mission: as a “Family on a Mission for the Glory of God” we extend the love of Jesus to every child that they might find renewal in Him. We so want to surround increasing numbers of children with the love of Christ so that they might find real life in Him.

Sometimes in the busyness of life, we attend to those things that scream for our attention, but neglect other things that may be even more important than those things crying out. One of those things is our child’s spiritual education. It doesn’t tend to be one of the “urgent” things vying for our attention, but in truth it may be the most important.

As you enter the new year with your child please consider the following suggestions so that the urgent doesn’t crowd out the important.