It’s WEEK 4 of my dad’s awesome series on parenting, featuring excerpts from his book Raising Homemade Disciples, which IS ON SALE FOR ONLY .99 cents this week on KINDLE. If you’ve been waiting for a deal, THIS IS IT! Carpe Diem!
Last week we learned about the 4 main purposes for families, the first of which is AUTHORITY.
WHAT?!? That’s no fun!
But, as much as we don’t like authority, we KNOW it is a big deal establishing it and using it correctly with our kids SO . . . .to that end, let’s hear what brilliant parenting expert, Brian Tenny ;), has to say about that.
Life under Authority
Of all the hot-button words I could have chosen for the next blog in this series, I had to go and pick this doozie—authority! I can’t apologize, because I’m more convinced every day that this is the pivotal issue of the universe. If we’re to produce healthy citizens and solid generations, there’s just is no substitute for this foundational value. And what better for it to be learned than within the safe confines of the home?
Thankfully, there is a God in heaven who never changes. He retains the prerogative to call all the shots. Because of that, all authority stems from Him, and trickles down through government, school, work, church, and of course, the family.
How will you establish the principle of authority in your home? Let’s start with the lingo of pyramid marketing. In Amway, Mary Kay and dozens of other such companies, the terms “up-line” and “down-line” describe those who recruited you and those who report to you and produce commission checks for you. In this same pattern, your success with your children (“down-line”) will depend entirely on your relationship to your “up-line” (God).
That’s why you can’t lie to your boss and expect honesty from your children. You can’t reject God’s rightful claim on your life and expect full cooperation from your children.
If you’ve established a clear and solid “up-line” relationship with God, you have access to all the resources needed for the job of parenting. If you’re asking, “WHY is Authority such a big deal for my children to learn?” The answer is simple. Proper regard for authority in the home is preparation for a lifetime of working under God’s authority, possibly being in a position of authority over others, and establishing God’s authority in a family.
I see three stages in the parent-child relationship that evolve like this:
> Obedience – to avoid pain or punishment
> > Submission – to gain privileges
> > > Love – enthusiastically serving another
THE EYE–To Watch for Obedience
Judy used many creative ways to instill this truth in our three. She would often ask the offending child, “How does God feel about what you just did?” The goal isn’t to create a “Big Brother” type of fear, but to help a child realize that nothing escapes God’s notice. Reminding our kids of God’s authority consistently, appropriately, and sensitively instills a healthy sense of God’s constant presence – and availability.
Children misbehaving in public may notice Mom or Dad giving them “the eye” – the silent signal that says, “If you don’t straighten up, you’ll be sorry when we get home.” Think about Psalm 32:8: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go: I will guide you with my eye.”
THE FACE–To Guide toward Submission
Another question I recall Judy asking our kids when they misbehaved was, with disappointment in her eyes, “What does my face say?” The knowledge that Mommy was displeased often caused enough pain that no further correction was necessary.
Have you ever had a great waitress or waiter who deserved a 30% tip for their outstanding service? Why? Proverbs 8:34 always brings to mind such a servant, watching attentively, alert to the slightest need: “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.” Does that give you a clear picture of one who is alert to the master’s bidding, without a word being spoken? How would you like your children to come to the point where they picked up toys or did their share around the home without even being asked – just to please you – ?
The ultimate motivation–THE HEART–To Lead by Love
Here’s the lesson: our heavenly Father wants us to be so attuned to His desires that we won’t need skywriting to get on with His business? That’s the ultimate goal of authority in the home – to cultivate alertness to the desires of those over us.
God wants us to be familiar enough with the tone of His voice that we’ll instinctively do what pleases Him from a motive of love rather than fear. Think of this passage from John 15:14-15. After 3 years of being the authority over his disciples, Jesus talks about how the relationship is now evolving. He says, “You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
Picture in your mind small children following orders at the risk of a paddling or time out. They are motivated merely to avoid the negative consequence. Jump to age eight or ten, when they should have learned that sometimes it just feels good to help out and go along with what’s asked, without fuss, maybe with the lure of a treat or privilege. Eventually there may come a day when the sheer enjoyment of helping Mom or Dad from a heart of love is reward enough. The relationship has evolved from obedience and submission to friendship and love.
A proper understanding of authority, at its core, should produce in us sensitivity, a desire to willingly meet the needs of the one to whom we are accountable from a motive of love. As the Apostle Paul says, if you can’t obey your husband, your boss, your teacher, your pastor with a willing heart and a right attitude, then do it as an act of surrender and gratitude to the One who gave His son for you.
MY COMMITMENT I realize that my family’s condition depends largely on my surrender to God’s authority in my own life. I need to make specific changes in my own life, and communicate with my spouse to set things in order for more of God’s blessing in our home.
MY PRAYER Heavenly Father, only You can bring into line the chaos and conflict in my marriage and my home. I surrender to You those areas where I’ve tried to run things my way. Help me walk in step with my spouse in a way pleasing to You, so we can guide or children with wisdom and grace that only You can give us. Amen.
Don’t forget to snatch up a Kindle copy of Raising Homemade Disciples, which IS ON SALE FOR ONLY .99 cents this week on KINDLE. Also, PLEASE share this post or info about the book with your friends!