Monday, February 05, 2007

For Young Children, Time is Love

I desire God's best for our young children -- Christine, Paul, and Angel. But sometimes, after giving them love and instruction, I wonder why they're still having problems. Yes, I understand, they're still emotionally immature. They need time to grow up. And they need both of their parents present during this very important period.

When I was a growing kid myself, I felt money was all I wanted from my parents. So when they gave it to me, I thought that had been enough. I was wrong. Of course, I appreciated their striving their best for us kids. But later, I realized it was more of time with them that I was looking for than the allowances they gave me.

Almost every day each week, usually before bed time, I spend time with our kids in prayer and His Word. The Lord is blessing us with money for all their needs. But, as I've learned when I was a child, they need something more essential than money. This is when I discover how much I need to see life through their eyes. Are they feeling the love of their parents? The question for me, as their Dad, is not whether or not I love them. The question is whether or not they feel the love I have for them.

To my children, time is love. I'm there with them, not somewhere else. I'm present and focused on them, not the laundry or my work or what to cook or what's in the TV news. I'm fully present physically as well as emotionally and mentally. Of course, I can only spend a certain number of hours with them each time. But I make sure that my presence with them is regular, uninterrupted, wholehearted. I do my best to make them feel valued and loved.

Children may see their parents as coming from heaven. Parents are called by God to be representatives of His Kingdom to their children on earth. Being a parent is a very important role that the Lord chooses to give a man or a woman.

Both mothers and fathers are commanded to do several things in the Word: 1.) Modeling with Godliness – being a model by which a child can learn by “catching” the essence of living devoted to God (Deuteronomy 4:9, 15, 23; Proverbs 10:9, 11:3; Psalm 37:18, 37) 2.) Availability – morning, noon, and night (Deuteronomy 6:6-7) 3.) Involvement – interacting, discussing, thinking and processing life together (Ephesians 6:4) 4.) Teaching – the Scriptures, a biblical world-view (Psalm 78:5-6, Deuteronomy 4:10, Ephesians 6:4) 5.) Training – helping a child develop skills and discover his strengths (Proverbs 22:6) 6.) Discipline – teaching the fear of the Lord, drawing the line consistently, lovingly, firmly (Ephesians 6:4, Hebrews 12:5-11, Proverbs 13:24, 19:18, 22:15, 23:13-14, 29:15-17) 7.) Nurture – providing an environment of constant verbal support, freedom to fail, acceptance, affection, unconditional love. (Titus 2:4, 2 Timothy 1:7, Ephesians 4:29-32, 5:1-2, Galatians 5:22, 1 Peter 3:8-9).

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