I recently wrote a post on 7 Ways parents harm their children without even realizing it which stirred up a huge amount of conversations focused on the dangerous mistakes every parent should avoid. As a follow-up, I’d like to focus on the positive. If we as parents will stay focused on doing the right things and teaching the right lessons, we’ll also be much less likely to make those mistakes.
After looking at everything the Bible (the world’s greatest parenting manual) has to say about parenthood and borrowing wisdom from some parents who are much wiser than me, I’ve put together a list of the seven most important lessons every parent must teach their children. If you consistently teach these values, you’ll be raising future world-changers!
Take responsibility for teaching these lessons to your kids. It’s not the government’s job, it’s not the school teacher’s job and it’s not even the church’s job. You can’t delegate the responsibility of parenting. God entrusted these kids to YOU. It’s your great privilege and your sacred duty to impart these timeless values to your children.
(In no particular order)
1. Tell the truth.
Honesty is the value which fortifies a solid foundation for all other values. Your kids need to know that lying is unacceptable. Make “Truth” a central value in your home and you’ll be building a lifelong bond of trust with your children.
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4
2. Honor your parents.
If your kids don’t learn to have respect for you, they’ll struggle to ever have respect for anyone or anything. They don’t always have to agree with you or like what you’re saying, but they always have to respect and honor you.
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12
3. Love each other.
For a family to work, you don’t always have to like each other, but you always have to love each other. Your children must know that they are loved completely and unconditionally and they must give that same unconditional love to their siblings and parents.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
While love should never be conditional upon performance, your kids still need to know that excellence matters. It honors God, inspires people and helps your children reach their full potential. Even the smallest acts (cleaning their room, doing homework, etc.) should be seen as an opportunity to give their best effort.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for people” Colossians 3:23
5. Be patient.
Delayed gratification isn’t often modeled or valued in our culture, but it’s still vital to a healthy, balanced life. To test your children’s current level of patience and delayed gratification, see how they perform in “The Marshmallow Test.”
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.“ Ephesians 4:2
6. Be thankful.
In a culture of entitlement and materialism, genuine gratitude shines like stars in the night sky. Teach your kids to be grateful and thankful in all circumstances. No matter how bad things might get, there are always reasons to be thankful.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
7. Never give up.
In a world of quitters, teach your children to persevere. For a quick dose of inspiration about never giving up, check out my 3-minute video where I share a true story that changed my life.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7
For more tools to help you build a stronger family, check out my brand new book The Seven Laws of Love: Essential Principles for Building Stronger Relationships
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