The short answer to the question is, teach your children to love too, but teach by example. Also, though you provide for them physically, lead them to God by teaching them to fear Him and trust in Him to help them provide for themselves and the next generation. So many children grow up in a home where they are loved and provided for but they never learn to give and become independent, thus continuing to be a burden to family members after they become adults.
To love your child means that you will demonstrate to him/her the following behavior described in I Cor. 13:4-7. To love your child is a tall order because love is not just a noun it is also a verb. Love is not just a feeling; it is a commitment for better and for worse. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.
By establishing a loving and respectful relationship with your child based on trust and honor, you will be able to have open communications with your children, leading to generations that honor God. Some children leave home before age 18, while others leave in their forties and fifties. It doesn’t matter the age of the person, whether you are adult or not, a parent’s love does not change. The only thing that changes is the parent’s expectation of their child’s performance. The parent-child relationship must continue to be based on trust, honor and respect.
Love is the basis of the parent-child relationship; and from that springs all the responsibilities the parent has towards the child. Some children mature faster than others and are ready to take on bigger challenges at a younger age. Some children learn faster than others so you can move on to more advanced lessons with a younger child sooner. Whichever way you look at it, it is the parent’s responsibility to nurture the love characteristics in their child and guide them to make Godly decisions. Without the knowledge of God and His words, children have a slim chance of factoring God’s laws and desires into their plans and personal decisions. That is why it is necessary to teach and raise up a child in the ways of God when he is young so that when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6)
In most societies the family is the principal institution for development of its children. The family operates like a nation with a purpose from God. The scriptures tell us that children are a blessing from God (Ps 127:5). To appreciate the family structure you must understand that God instituted the family and He has a purpose for the family. While they were still living in the Garden of Eden, God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply (Gen 1:28). After they sinned and were put out of the Garden of Eden, he maintained that they must still be fruitful and multiply, the only difference is that the woman would experience pain in child birth. Without children Adam and Eve could not multiply.
As children of God we are to multiply the nature of God on the earth by raising Godly children to take our place and continue to spread the nature of God throughout the world; this is the purpose of God for the family. If you recall, at creation, all of God’s creation was to bring forth offspring after its kind. Well, God made man in His image and His likeness and His plan is for man to bring forth offspring after his kind (in the likeness of God). Unfortunately, sin entered into the picture and man started having offspring after he had sinned and was removed from the Garden, leading to the God-kind being fallen in nature. But God’s work of redemption would fix that mishap in man’s life cycle and give him the opportunity to fulfill God’s purpose for man’s family.
So, the purpose of the family is to populate the earth with people who live and operate according to the likeness, nature and laws of God. As a result, we can appreciate why the family follows God’s instructions as its source for teaching and relating to its children. The source of the authority behind the family institution is our creator, God. We teach our children to pray, “Our Father in heaven…..” Godly offspring will teach and nurture the next generation according to His word, creating a God like nation for the world to see an example of peace, love and harmony in family relationships as an example of what we experience with our heavenly father. The family of God becomes “a city on a hill that cannot be hid.”
The family is the principal source of education for children of how to be a good citizen and a civilized human being who contributes to the betterment of society. This puts a lot of responsibility on the parents who are the teachers and care takers of the children. The children learn by example as well as by theory. Parents teach the rules to live by then demonstrate how to live by those rules. This is where the parent must have and demonstrate the fruit of the spirit so they can use it as a reference when teaching the next generation and when it is their turn to be the parent.
The parenting style is dictated by the manifestation of the fruit of the spirit according to Galatians 5:22 include how to be polite, how to show thanks and appreciation, how to encourage and support others, or to give and receive correction with love and caring, how to be independent and how to participate in a team. Children learn to be content and cooperative. Children learn the principles of hard work and the rewards that accompany the outcome. Children learn empathy and sympathy. Children learn how to respect and obey authority; children learn to honor their parents, demonstrate their love to one another and care for those who are weaker and give to those in need. The title, Parent, carries authority and demands honor and respect from children and society.
Children depend on their parents for love, support, education, and care. God depends on parents to teach, nurture, correct, and train them in the ways of God. Society depends on parents to physically provide for their children, guide and mentor them into civilized behavior. When parents are diligent to carry out their God given responsibilities, the family is able to enjoy the blessings of God and live in an environment of peace, love and harmony, free from fear, tyranny and oppression. The home becomes a safe haven for each member of the family away from the conflicts and contradictions of society. This is a place of clear thinking, no chaos or confusion. The children can assuredly place their trust, honor, hope, faith and obedience in their parents who in turn are obedient to God’s laws.
There is the basic expectation from God and from society that parents must be independent, contribute to the betterment of their community, and teach these values to their children. It is not recommended for children to give birth to children because they are not equipped to take on this complex assignment.
For parents to accomplish Godly works, a parent must do the following:
- Provide comfort, advice, love and support when they make mistakes and fail after trying
- Teach, guide and mentor them in their decision making challenges
- Be forgiving and correct them with gentleness when necessary.
- Provide an inheritance for your children
- Teach them how to be independent and to provide for their children
- Be a good example for them in how to follow God’s laws and practice God’s values of good morality
- Encourage them to live by faith
- Teach them to be strong, kind and giving
- Teach them to be charitable, frugal and caring
- Teach them to be thankful and appreciative for the good times, and blessings
- Teach them to look for the positive in every test and trial they face
- Demonstrate longsuffering, mercy, self control and patience
- Demonstrate how to be accountable and responsible
- Celebrate their achievements and their victories
- Celebrate the fruit of the spirit in them as they show increase
- Remind them of God’s words when they forget
- Point them to their source when they appear to lose their way
- Refer them to mentors and coaches that can do better for them than you
These complex responsibilities require knowledge of God’s instructions and laws, wisdom on how to apply God’s rules and understanding of your child’s temperament, needs, strengths and weaknesses regardless of age.
Raising Godly children is the most honorable, important God given assignment a parent could ever receive. Because this assignment is so important, it is imperative for parents to place this responsibility at the top of their life’s priority list.