Chapter 1 dissects the difference between good secular parenting and Christian parenting. Have you ever thought about the difference between Christian parents and secular parents? Have you ever considered what defines failure and success as a Christian parent? These are the two questions discussed in this chapter.
Perhaps you think the primary difference is that Christians use corporal punishment, and others do not. If you are a Christian parent and think that is the primary or only difference, you are much mistaken. The difference is not in the methods, although those will likely be different. The difference is in the goal. The goal of Christian parenting is different than the goal of secular parenting. Here it is according to Mrs. Pryde:
The goal of Christian parenting is the goal of our Lord Jesus Christ – to train our children in such ways that they will delight to know the Lord who conforms us to be like Christ and gives us His own character.
This was convicting to me. I will say that, in many ways, my goals have been to produce well behaved little ones who know the Scripture and are saved. But a better goal goes far deeper than that.
This chapter also sets what I feel is the premise for the book, that good and right parenting, according to the Bible, can quickly become cruel and harsh when they are done in the wrong way for the wrong reason.
Finally, she talks about failure. No Christian mother wants to end her parenting years and consider herself a failure, yet many do. According to the book, failure is not seeing your child sin and suffer those consequences. She does not outright say what failure is, but implies that perhaps it is a failure to point that child to a loving relationship with Christ.
(This sort of) failure often occurs when parents focus primarily on rules, correction, punishment, and children’s mistakes rather than giving primary importance to teaching children about God’s love for them, His mercy when they do make mistakes, and His great commandments and available help. . . . . (Proverbs 16:6b ‘by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil’ . . . God puts a major emphasis on learning what is write rather than learning all about evil.
So how can we avoid being a failure? By teaching our children about God and his goodness and faithfulness, teaching them to praise Him and marvel at His strength. By filling our children with these positive facts and truths, we teach them to love God, and that love will eventually create a desire to please Him versus a desire to do right for the selfish reason of avoiding pain.
“It is the first duty of parents to make the Bible precious and the Lord delightful to their children” – This quote really stood out to me! In order for this to be true, WE as moms must find the Bible precious and the Lord delightful. We also must talk about Scripture at positive times, not just when we are dealing with a discipline issue. I have often thought ‘what will my children learn about God when the times I use scripture are only when disciplining?’
Another section of this chapter that really stood out to me was her take on praying for your children’s salvation. She used Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” and John 15:7 “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you” to come to the conclusion that a parent who is diligently pointing her child towards Christ and praying for his salvation will most likely see that child accept God’s gift of salvation. This was something I had never really thought about before in light of these two passages of scripture, but it made sense to me.
She ends the chapter by giving six foundational responsibilities for Christian parents, which are:
· Love your children (deeply, sacrificially)These six foundational responsibilities are the basis for much of the remaining part of the book.
· Discipline your children.
· Motivate, build up, and encourage your children.
· Diligently train your children.
· Provide a living example of all you teach for your child.
· Have the utmost concern for the eternal soul of your child.
I feel this summary has not at all done this chapter justice! There were so many tidbits and quotes I simply could not cover. I cannot more highly recommend this book so you can get the full benefit. You can get your copy on Ironwood Camp’s website.