Parenting is an exercise in discipleship that brings us our greatest joys - and - many times, our most difficult sorrows.
What I see today in God's kingdom are parents who are taking their role as mom and dad seriously. I see parents who not only desire to raise their kids as "unto the Lord", but want to be the women and men of God that God has called them to be.
Here's what I know: We are to give godly counsel to our children.
David writes in Psalms 1:1, "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly."
God calls us as godly parents to give godly advice to our children.
I encourage you as a Christian parent to raise your children according to God's Word and godly counsel from Christian books, magazines and T.V. talk shows.
That is so important, for the values of our secular, carnal culture are promoting the idea that it is socially unacceptable to reprimand, repress, restrain or discipline our children.
Society calls it a violation of your child's freedom and self-expression.
Discipling your child means that you go far beyond simply exercising authority over them.
There must be equal amounts of love, service, patience, understanding and instruction.
Please listen to me: You can be a tremendous force for good, both to you own children and to other children under your influence.
You can be a part of the process of leading them to their life purpose.
Sometimes it is easy to think if not say out loud, "I don't feel up to parenting; I feel so inadequate to raise my children; I'm not much more than a big kid myself."
Yet remember this: Your effectiveness as a parent goes far beyond your own sense of being prepared, or experienced or your present energy level as mom and dad.
It is a measured call of God on your life. God has called you to be a parent.
That is so important to understand when you are tempted to NOT confront ungodly attitudes and behaviors in your children.
And you might feel a little bit sheepish is attempting to teach and lead your children in such a way that they honor you as their parents (as the Bible says to do).
But Jesus as designated you as an influencer and shaper of your children's for God's glory - not your own.
God's Word has laid out the results that your influence can have - for better or for worse.
Here are some action steps to fulfilling the call of God on your life as a parent:
Know that you are called by God to be your children's mom or dad.
Be a godly role model.
Focus on affirming your children and building a platform of trust by showing them how much you love them.
When the spontaneous moment for spiritual input and guidance comes - "seize the day" no matter what is going on around you.
Finally, I would suggest that you pray this prayer today:
"Father God, help me to shape the children under my influence by loving them according to Your commandments and teaching them Your ways. I desire to be a faithful shepherd who wisely uses the rod of Your leading and correction. Teach me never to neglect or ignore any child that You bring into my life. Confront in me any harmful attitudes that linger from my own childhood. Fill me daily with Your Holy Spirit, and keep the fountain of my soul overflowing with Your wisdom, goodness and affirmation toward children so that they may become the godly nurturers and leaders of tomorrow. In Jesus' name. Amen."