Read Genesis 18:18-19 and 1 Samuel 3:10-14. Contrast these two fathers. What were the results of their parenting styles?
Parents have a responsibility to be the disciplemakers of their children, so they will become disciples of Jesus themselves. There are parents who believe that the way to teach and correct their children is by applying physical punishment—the more, the better (Prov. 22:15, Prv. 23:13, Prov. 29:15). Passages like these have been misused to abuse children and force them into total submission, but often that has also led to rebellion against their parents and God.
The Bible teaches parents to govern with kindness (Eph. 6:4, Col. 3:21) and to instruct children in righteousness (Ps. 78:5, Prov. 22:6, Isa. 38:19, Joel 1:3). As parents we ought to provide for our children (2 Cor. 12:14) and set a good example for them to follow (Gen. 18:19, Exod. 13:8, Titus 2:2). We are told to direct our households well (1 Tim. 3:4-5, 1 Tim. 3:12) and to discipline our children (Prov. 29:15, Prov. 29:17) while at the same time reflecting God’s love (Isa. 66:13, Ps. 103:13, Luke 11:11).
Sadly, the Bible reveals stories of parenting gone wrong. Isaac and Rebekah played favorites with their sons, Esau and Jacob (Gen. 25:28), and later Jacob displayed the same attitude toward Joseph (Gen. 37:3). Eli, even though he was a religious leader, failed to correct his children (1 Sam. 3:10-14). Samuel, who was also raised by Eli, turned out to be a very deficient father himself (1 Sam. 8:1-6). King David, by committing adultery and ordering a murder, taught his children who followed his example. King Manasseh sacrificed his children to demons (2 Kings 21:1- 9), as did King Ahaz (2 Kings 16:2-4).
Fortunately, however, we also find in the Scriptures some examples of good parenting. Mordecai was a wonderful adoptive father to Hadassah, Queen Esther (Esther 2:7), and Job prayed for his children regularly (Job 1:4-5). In all of these examples, good and bad, we can glean lessons on parenting.
|What can we learn from the examples of parenting that we see in the Bible? In what ways can we use some of these principles in our interactions with those who are not our children?|