Biblical Parenting

Index of this page:

Parenting Seminar, do it by the (Good) Book!
Some additional thoughts on Children (My personal thoughts):

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Parenting Seminar, do it by the (good) book!

Introduction
I put together most of these verses before getting married, but why did I, as a non-parent do this?
I hoped to be a parent some day.
I already was like a parent at times to some kids.

Why do I feel this is important?
So that we may bring up our children in the "fear and nuture of the LORD" (Eph 6:4)
Various school shootings, Jonny Walker (the American Taliban), and other instances of obvious failed parenting
In recognition that you won't have the opportunity to have a greater influence on anyone but your own children, the importance of being the best parent possible is clear
To prepare our children to deal with the harsh and sinful world in which we live
To prepare our children to be good parents and productive members of society
To prepare our children to maintain their faith and hope in Christ, and knowledge of truth in the face of a world hostile to Christianity
To be an example to the world that the Christian way of life really works

The intent of this collection of verses is to fulfill this verse:
Malachi 4:6 "And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."
(Last verse in the Old Testament.) I'm not saying that this verse is referring to me, but that the words of scripture (God's word) will fulfill this verse.

At the time I put this together, I had no parenting experience, but I did spend a lot of time with children, and I was a child myself once... imagine that! So I had some valid experience to draw from. However, most of this seminar is scripture quoting. After all, I'm not so much concerned with what parenting is "really" like, but rather with how it should be. This gives us a goal to work for.

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The family structure

I believe God wants us to live together as families, and that nothing is more effective for ministry than a properly functioning family.

It seems clear that the Biblical definition of marriage is the union of one man and one woman, until the death of one or the other. The institution and sanctity of Marriage:
Genesis 2:18-24:
18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Mark 10:4-12:
2 And the Pharisees came to [Jesus], and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. 3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? 4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. 5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. 11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
Matthew 19:8-9:
8 [Jesus] saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

1 Corinthinans 7:39: The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

Jesus recognized that the institution of marriage was for now, but not after the resurrection. The Sadducees told Jesus about a woman who had been married to 7 brothers, one at a time, the remaining 6 only after the previous one had died, then asked:
Matthew 22: 28-30:
28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
This is repoeated in Mark 12:18-25 and Luke 20:27-35.

Physical union should only be within marriage. If the above verses don't make this clear, these verses certainly should. Only verse references are quoted here for brevity:
Deuteronomy 22:22-30, 1 Samuel 2:22-23, 2 Samuel 11:1-12:23 (David and Bathsheba, and David suffered even more because of his sin than just what is recorded in these verses), Proverbs 7, ALL of Song of Solomon, and many other verses.

Since children can naturally only come from a physical union of a man and a woman, it is quite clear that children should only be conceived in the context of a marriage relationship.

There are many passages giving examples of family structure, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, parents and children, etc., and that we find our identity in families. Most of these verses are written as though this was the custom of the day, or that this was an assumed fact of the Godly life. I believe it is possible to piece together verses that give clear indication that children are primarily the responsibility of their parents.

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Children are special, a reward, a treasure, a blessing, and even damaging to the enemy (the devil):

Psalm 127:3-5 Lo, children [are] an heritage of the LORD: [and] the fruit of the womb [is his] reward. 4 As arrows [are] in the hand of a mighty man; so [are] children of the youth. 5 Happy [is] the man whose quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Psalm 128:3-4 Thy wife [shall be] as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. 4 Behold, thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.

Proverbs 17:6 Children's children [are] the crown of old men; and the glory of children [are] their fathers.

Psalm 113:9 He maketh the barren woman to keep house, [and to be] a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.

Mark 8:36-37 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
(Repeated in Matthew 16:26)

Other verses where offspring are considered a blessing, or lack thereof a curse:
Gen 49:25, Deut 7:12-14, Hosea 9:14,16, Gen 20:17-18, Ge 25:21, Ge 29:31 & following, Job 42:12-13, 16, Proverbs 30:15-16, Song of Sol 4:1-2, Isa 54:1, Luke 23:27-30 (implies dreadful days where the reverse (sorrow about newborns) will be true), Gal 4:27, Gen 17:20, Like the sand of the seashore or stars of the heavens: Gen 15:5, Gen 22:17, Gen 26:4, Gen 32:12, Ex 32:13

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Children were created by and belong to the Lord, just like everyone and everything else:

Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine [declares the LORD]; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine

Job 31:15 Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same
One fashion us in the womb?

Psalms 139:13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. 14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made: marvellous [are] thy works; and [that] my soul knoweth right well.

Isaiah 44:2 Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, [which] will help thee;

Isaiah 44:24 Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I [am] the LORD that maketh all [things];

Isaiah 49:5 And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb [to be] his servant....

Jeremiah 1:4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Ecclesiastes 11:5 As thou knowest not what [is] the way of the spirit, [nor] how the bones [do grow] in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.

1 Cor. 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

Malachi 2:10 Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?...

Prov. 22:2 The rich and poor meet together: the LORD [is] the maker of them all.

Job 34:19 [How much less to him] that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? for they all [are] the work of his hands.

Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Job 41:11 [God speaking:] Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.

Rev 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

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Children are sinners, just like everyone else:
Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness [is] bound in the heart of a child; [but] the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Don't be surprised when you discover that your "perfect little angel" isn't so perfect anymore.
How do we deal with the fallen sinful nature of our children?

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Children need our absolute honesty:
Matthew 18:6-7 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

James 3:1 "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly."

If we are Parents then we are teachers! Many veres make this clear.
God commands us to be honest in everyday life. Our honesty with our children will affect how effective we will be at instructing and disciplining them. If they can't trust us, how can we expect them to believe us when we tell them of God and his Word?
Matthew 5:33-37 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

James 5:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and [your] nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

2Ti 2:16 But shun profane [and] vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

Leviticus 19:11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.
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Children need honesty ...And our love (remember, love rejoices in the truth):

Titus 2:3-4 The aged women likewise, that [they be] in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

Christ recognized the importance of children and that they need affection (similar passages also in Mt 19:14 and Lu 18:16):
Mark 10:13-16 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and [his] disciples rebuked those that brought [them]. 14 But when Jesus saw [it], he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16 And he took them up in his arms, put [his] hands upon them, and blessed them.

Matthew 18:2-5: And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven 5 "And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me."

This passage probably refers to spiritual children as much if not more than those who are young in years, but the fact remains that Jesus used an actual child as an example, then commanded his followers to "receive" such a person. There therefore is implied at least 1 significant characteristic of childlikeness that we are commanded to embrace, both in our own behavior, and in acceptance of such behaviors of others, apparently including others who happen to be actual children.

The command to love our children is implied in these verses:
1 Thessalonians 2:7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherishes her children:
1 Thessalonians 2:11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father [does] his children,

Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

We love our children by obeying God's commands for parenting them:
2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments.

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We must Instruct and teach our Children:
(In fact, the Bible's wording implies that we are COMMANDED to instruct our OWN children)

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Deuteronomy 11:18-19 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Deuteronomy 31:19 Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.

"What mean these stones?"
Joshua 4:1-7 And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, 2 Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, 3 And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night. 4 Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: 5 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: 6 That this may be a sign among you, [that] when your children ask [their fathers] in time to come, saying, What [mean] ye by these stones? 7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

Exodus 13:8: And thou shalt show thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the Lord did unto me when I cam forth out of Egypt.

Exodus 13:14: And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of bondage:

Psalms 78:1-8 [[Maschil of Asaph.]] Give ear, O my people, [to] my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: 3 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide [them] from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. 5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: 6 That the generation to come might know [them, even] the children [which] should be born; [who] should arise and declare [them] to their children: 7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: 8 And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation [that] set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.


Older Women to teach the younger, and apparently by implication, older men to teach the younger as well:
Titus 2:3-6 The aged women likewise, that [they be] in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 [To be] discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. 6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.


Proverbs 23:26 My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.

Genesis 18:18-19 is both a promise and a command to Abraham to teach children, thus producing a nation

Promises relating to teaching:
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Psalms 132:12 If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.

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We must also discipline our children, including making use of corporal punishment:
Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. [betimes: according to Strongs concordance, betimes means to be up early at any task (with the implication of earnestness), to seek early, or diligently seek. NIV says "but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.", NASB says "disciplines him diligently" and Amplified says "diligently disciplines and punishes him early."]

Proverbs 19:18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left [to himself] brings his mother to shame.

Proverbs 23:13-14 Withhold not correction from the child: for [if] thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

Discipline even of Adult children:
1 Samuel 2:22-24 Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled [at] the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 23 And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. 24 Nay, my sons; for [it is] no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD'S people to transgress.

But apparently this action by Eli wasn't even enough:
1 Samuel 3:11-13 And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. 12 In that day I will perform against Eli all [things] which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. 13 For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.

Discipline even onto death???:
Deuteronomy 21:18-21 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and [that], when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: 19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son [is] stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; [he is] a glutton, and a drunkard. 21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

And consider even the words of Jesus:
Matthew 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
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WHERE DOES THE PARENT'S RIGHT TO DISCIPLINE CONFLICT WITH WHAT MIGHT BE CONSIDERED ABUSE???

If we discipline improperly (either too harshly or too softly) we will be judged accordingly. For starters, remember the "millstone" principle. (See above reference to Matthew 18:6-7.)

James 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.


Unnecessarily harsh (abusive) discipline is bad for the children:

Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children [to anger], lest they be discouraged.

Deuteronomy 5:9-10 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them [idols], nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me, 10 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.


What's the difference between unnecessarily harsh (abusive) discipline and proper God-ordained discipline? Discipline must be in love, using God's truth:

James 1:19-20 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath

Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Proverbs 3:11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the LORD loveth he corrects; even as a father the son [in whom] he delights.

Proverbs 3:11 is repeated in Hebrews 12:5-8, and following verses (to verse 11) are instructive also:
Hebrews 12:5-11: 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected [us], and we gave [them] reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened [us] after their own pleasure; but he for [our] profit, that [we] might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Indeed, any holy or righteous action, without love, is nothing:
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

My thought:
"If I am the best of parents according to the rules for parenting God has laid out, but I love not my child, it propheteth nothing"

Limited Discipline:
Proverbs 17:10 A reproof enters more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.

Proverbs 23:13-14 Withhold not correction from the child: for [if] thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

Implication: Physical punishment should not seriously injure a child, and it should certainly not cause a child to die.

A couple thoughts:
1. The specific rule that is broken is not the issue. Obedience is the issue.
2. There is a distinction between deliberate disobedience and lack of understanding. Punishment for lack of understanding is too harsh, no matter how "easy" the punishment is. But to not punish and/or discipline for deliberate disobedience is to not fulfill your parental responsibility.

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The Child that Repents:
After we've punished our children for their wrong, such as taking away a priviledge or a physical object that "belongs" to them, or spanked them, then disciplined them such as providing guidance to show them what is right and how to act appropriately, and at the next opportunity they have to do the same wrong they instead do what is right, I believe a reward is appropriate. The story of the Prodigal son I believe makes this clear. While this parable referrs to a sinner that repents, it uses a human example that I believe is an appropriate model, especially considering 2 things: We as Christians are called to be Christlike, and secondly, the father/mother marriage and rule over their children is a model, though imperfect, of our marriage to Christ, and our sonship under Christ, respectively. I believe the reward doesn't have to be much, but should try to match the benefit of doing what is right. Sometimes just a word of encouragement is right, but it could also be a party as was the case in this parable. Here is the parable in its entirety.

Luke 15:11-32: 11 And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my fatherís have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. 25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. 28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. 29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. 31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

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Sheltering Children:
We need to shelter our children from bad outside influences including "strange" children as described here:
Psalm 144:11-12 11 Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood: 12 That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:
This principle applies generally, not just to other "strange" children:
1Cor. 15:33 Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals.

And don't lead your children astray, lest you be worthy of the "millstone drowning." (Matthew 18:6-7)
We can't shelter our children forever, though. Scripture gives examples of adult children both honoring and dishonoring their parents, and being blessed or cursed respectively and accordingly, thus suggesting there is never a time when we are "old enough" to be totally on our own as long as at least one of our parents are still living. The implication then is that we never outgrow the commandment to obey parents, and especially to honor parents. However, if we as parents don't let our children make their own decisions at some point...

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When children are on their own:
Since children will most likely someday be on their own, we need to ask, can they bear to live separately from you? Can you bear to live separately from them? Are they mature enough to live separately from you or you from them? Will they be able to make mature decisions when you're not watching? And consider that occasionally, a mother, father, son or daughter may die unexpectedly. Are you or they ready for that kind of separation?

Your children will someday live separtely from you, and you will have less control over them:
Genesis 2:23-24 And Adam said, This [is] now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

In this next verse, Jesus is quoting Genesis, affirming that children will normally leave their parents when they get married. These verses are repeated in Mark 10:7-9
Matthew 19:4-5 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made [them] at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be one flesh?

Ephesians 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

The fact that our kids will someday be apart from us emphasizes the importance of the previous verses on love, instruction, and discipline, so that this Proverb promise will apply to our children:

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

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Will our children thus turn out perfect? No, but they are certainly responsible for their behavior, just as we are for our behaviour.
Deuteronomy 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Romans 14:11-12 For it is written, [As] I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

And as previous verses have pointed out, we certainly are responsible for disciplining our children when they do wrong!

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Other verses on parenting:
God wants us to have children:
Genesis 1:27-28 So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,

Malachi 2:15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.

Turn away from those disobedient to parents (emphasis added):
2 Timothy 3:2-5 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Providing for our children, both fathers and mothers:
Luke 11:11-12 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

Matthew 7:9-10 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
Proverbs 31:15 [The Virtuous Wife] riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

Proverbs 31:21 [The Virtuous Wife] is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

Saving up for the children:
Proverbs 13:22 A good [man] leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner [is] laid up for the just.

2 Corinthians 12:14 Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.

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HOW ON EARTH ARE WE SUPPOSED TO HANDLE ALL THIS?!? Parenting sounds just too hard if we're supposed to do all this.

Remember that we aren't directly responsibile for our children's behavior, but we are responsible for how we discipline them. See Deuteronomy 24:16 quoted above in the section that asks if our children will turn out perfect. And just to be sure, this same idea is repeated here:
Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
We should seek to fear the Lord and delight in his commandments:
Psalm 112:1 Praise ye the LORD. Blessed [is] the man [that] feareth the LORD, [that] delighteth greatly in his commandments. 2 His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed.

We should ask for wisdom (just remember Solomon did the same!):
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

We should submit to the Holy Spirit, for He will guide us into all truth:
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

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Promises and rewards for diligent parents:
Proverbs 23:24-25 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise [child] shall have joy of him. 25 Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.

3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

Proverbs 29:17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.

Proverbs 29:21 He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become [his] son at the length.

Proverbs 31:8 [The virtuous wife's] children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

Careful discipline of our children and rule over our own household qualifies one (at least in part) for church leadership:
1Ti 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

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For the children:
Responsibilities and instructions for children:

Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

Proverbs 1:8-9 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 9 For they [shall be] an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.

Proverbs 2:1-5 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; 2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, [and] apply thine heart to understanding; 3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, [and] liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as [for] hid treasures; 5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

Proverbs 4:1 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.

Proverbs 6:20-23 My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 21 Bind them continually upon thine heart, [and] tie them about thy neck. 22 When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and [when] thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. 23 For the commandment [is] a lamp; and the law [is] light; and reproofs of instruction [are] the way of life:

Proverbs 13:1 A wise son [heareth] his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.

Proverbs 23:26 My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.

1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Some warnings for children: Exodus 21:15 And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.
Exodus 21:17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.
Matthew 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.

Prov. 30:17 The eye that mocks his father, And scorns obedience to his mother, The ravens of the valley will pick it out, And the young eagles will eat it.

How can children live a righteous life? Psalm 119:9 [How] shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

And how can a young man take heed to God's word? Two verses later we find the answer!
Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Some promises for Children:
Colossians 3:20 Children, obey [your] parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.

Proverbs 4:10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.

Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Ephesians 6:2-3 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

A promise for children whose parents forsake or disown them:
Psalm 27:10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.

Children without fathers (emphasis added):
James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Deuteronomy 27:19 Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.

Psalms 68:5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.

Exodus 22:22 Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.

Jeremiah 7:6-7 If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: 7 Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.

Deuteronomy 14:29 And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.

Deuteronomy 24:19-21 When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands. 20 When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. 21 When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.

Deuteronomy 26:12 When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled;

Searching the Bible for the word "fatherless" will bring up many additional verses. Some are very similar to those quoted here, but some of them also refer to those who have done wicked things and are punished by being made fatherless, some verses tell of people who are cursed by having their children become fatherless, and some verses describe wicked people who make others fatherless, fail to provide justice to the fatherless, or who do wrong things to the fatherless.

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Topics to add to my above seminar when I find verses for them:

Ultimate purpose of children

1 Timothy 5:14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

Don't hit over 40 times

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Some additional thoughts on Children (My personal thoughts):

We aren't necessarily responsible for how our children act, but we certainly are responsible for how we respond to their actions!

Crime, punishment, and the family solution

There is a problem when dealing with criminals. If we throw them in jail, they mix with other criminals who can teach them how to do more crime, and they may develop a resentment against the authority who put them there thus driving them to want to revolt by committing more crimes. We could simply let them go, pretending that it wasn't their fault, that it was a mental disorder or because of being influenced by society. These solutions have problems too, in that it doesn't deal with the individual personally enough, and does nothing to deter others from doing crime. These alternatives come from the idea that any form of physical punishment is physical abuse, most other forms of punishment are mental abuse, and that crimes are done because of uncontrolled reactions to societial influences.

In all these cases, there is a lack of love, expressed in the rejection of the person. The Bible says "Those who I [The Lord] love, I rebuke and discipline" (Rev. 3:19) and "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him" (Pr 13:24). From this we can determine that love is not the absence of discipline, but rather that love includes discipline. I also think that discipline is not or should not be associated with rejection. If a person has been completely rejected by those who have authority over them, that person is then free to do as they wish, and you have also lost the opportunity to discipline, instruct, encourage, and guide the person further.

Therefore, my solution is to restore the family. In a family, each individual can get to know the others on a very personal level because they spend a lot of time together. Parents who know their kids well are better able to determine what factors surrounded inappropriate behaviour, and what kind of punishment and/or guidance and instruction would be most appropriate. Since the punishment does not have to alienate the child from the family to live with others who have done similar offenses, this avoids the problem of prison mentioned above, while retaining the love and fellowship of his family, including the opportunity for the time it takes to carefully explain the logic and reasoning of why the inappropriate behaviour was wrong. However, since justice can still be served by punishing the wrongdoer with a loss of rights of some kind (which may include spanking, time out, restrictions on activities, etc.), he can associate the wrong doing with the pain of the punishment, which will help in reminding him not to do it again, while not making him feel unloved or unwanted. In short, the family provides the best atmosphere for long term love, acceptance, affection, nurturing, guidance, and fair and effective discipline and instruction. It is important to begin giving kids these things as soon as they are born, since the more disciplined they are in the proper values, the better they'll be able to withstand the onslaught of improper values. If these things are not carefully balanced, they will probably seek what is missing elsewhere, leaving the door open for the child to be influenced by others who may or may not share the parents' values, and such influence can begin at any age. Some parents may have grown up in homes where they didn't have much outside influence to do bad things, if for no other reason than such influence wasn't there (this may also hinder some parents' abilities to logically defend what they know is right). These parents need to be aware if their own children are being influenced from other sources, lest their children fall prey to those influences. These influences at one time were not prevalent, but are now everywhere, including the TV, the internet, friends at school, movies, etc. I believe parents must do these things, being role models of their values, if they expect their children to follow in those same values. Children, of course, have free will, so parents should continue to care for their kids in this way until the child has left home either in acceptance of their parents' values or in blatant rejection of them.

If a child grows up in such an environment and accepts their parents values, when they are on their own, they will have a firm foundation for doing what is right. This includes understanding the logic and reasoning behind why the wrong things are wrong. Such understanding is valuable since it can be applied to new situations. They will probably also realize all the pitfalls they have avoided because of the careful instructions of their parents. This leads to an appreciation for the type of family life they grew up in, and thus a desire to repeat such an experience for their own kids.

However, grown children from a family life as explained above can still choose to do wrong even while in their right mind, despite all the logical reasons the person has that say he shouldn't do it, because humans have free will. The wrong may be anything from a single wrong act to complete rejection of the values taught them by their parents. In this case, he and he alone is fully responsible, since no blame can be placed on his environment, and thus impersonal jail time, or perhaps even the death penalty in the case of murder is the only just punishment for the crime.

Good people can still come from even the worst of family situations and vice versa. I believe this is because of two primary things: people have free will, and they can be influenced by other people and their ideas. I believe that in some cases, children can see the destructiveness of their own parents actions, and thus they are able to avoid doing those things themselves. I also believe that living in a negative environment does not make it impossible to have a positive attitude, but it does make it much more difficult.

The worst of the worst
Children need love, acceptance, affection, nurturing, guidance and discipline. If any of these things are lacking, they will most likely seek them elsewhere, giving others the opportunity to take advantage of them for selfish gain or to instill any value the child will stand to listen to in exchange for the need that isn't being met elsewhere.
Kids who don't have these needs met in their family or in their community may withdraw and seek to meet their needs themselves. They might try drugs, self mutilation, violence, or suicide.
I think it is some of these kids who resort to violence against society who are the ones who plan school massacres and other disasters.

My response to an epedemic of children killing other children
Should we be surprised when children misbehave in such ways that they actually kill each other? We have taken discipline away or at best made it inconsistent, we have destroyed respect for human life (abortion), we have taken prayer out of public schools, we live in a society that feeds its citizens pictures of violence and immorality through both high officials and the entertainment industry (making us numb to real violence if not encouraging it), we have parents who spend so much time chasing after their dreams (jobs, hobbies, etc.) that they often forget about their kids, to say nothing of their spouses (take a look at the divorce rate), in the name of individual rights we demanded that women enter the workforce, and now many families can't survive without both parents working, and there are no doubt many other things that contribute to the problems we have. Though no single thing listed above can be blamed for all our problems, I believe that these things can work together, and when they come in combination in a single family, the effect is synergistic, and the result can be devistating. Ultimately, it is our sinful nature to blame, though there may be specific types of sin in specific cases. More specifically, I would say that in our pursuit of happiness in our own self interest, we often fail to recognize where that pursuit begins to intrude on the rights of others, sometimes missing this boundary by a long shot, and some people don't seem to even care about or know that such a boundary exists.

I love children
I have always enjoyed being around kids, helping them with stuff, teaching them things, showing them the wonderful things God has put into this world for our enjoyment, encouraging and joining them in wholesome activities, and demonstrating and giving them love, and by that I mean the kind of uplifting love that Christ has shown to us (this kind of love is scarce in our society). I find that kids respond to this with an enthusiasm, energy, personal enjoyment, and respect that many adults just don't seem to have, most likely because kids aren't yet burdened by the cares and horrors of the world or by years of living in their own sin. To see children enjoying life like this should remind us that if we don't make the effort to make life enjoyable, it most likely won't be.

Matthew 19:13-15 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put [his] hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. 15 And he laid [his] hands on them, and departed thence.

I have a deep love for children, and I have an ability to reach into the life of a child, often resulting in him or her accepting me as his or her friend. Perhaps the most powerful example of this is with a boy who's family and extended family I know well and they all know me and my family well. In developing the relationship, I have spent several hours at a time and a few times several days in a row with this boy and his family, playing games, doing necessary chores, helping him with projects he was interested in, and even reading the Bible and praying together. After spending a weekend with him in which we had done a lot of fun and constructive activities, he specifically thanked me for several of the things that I had done with him, and knowing that I wouldn't see him again for quite some time, he said he would miss me and the fun things we did. It is my prayer for this boy that he would cherish the wholesome things that we did so that he can provide the same experience for other children, especially his own children when that time comes. I have had similar experiences with other children.

My ultimate desire is to develop a relationship with each child so that I am not only a friend, but one who they accept as a mentor and role model. I believe it is vitally important for as many mature Christians as possible to make themselves available to other less mature Christians and children so that they can pass their knowledge, love, and faith to those that are less mature. In this way, we can preserve not just the values that make the Christian world view powerful, but we can also demonstrate the love of Christ so that others will desire what we have.

I work "behind the scenes" with children. I am rarely a leader of any particular project. Rather, I concentrate on how I lead, especially with children. I am tough, but gentle. If it's something where it has to be done a particular way or it won't work, I'll give them unending patience, but the project simply won't get done if we don't do it the right way. And if we don't get done in time, those responsible (even the children) suffer the consequences. I'm not going to protect them just so their "little ego or self esteem" won't suffer. Those things can be rebuilt. They can always have another opportunity to do it right, if they want to. And I'll encourage them to do their own work, especially when the result is something they want but can do without. No amount of fussing will convince me to "give in." But I'd be glad to help them with a project. And I'd do anything I possibly can if their life is in danger. Saying I work "behind the scenes" is not at all to suggest that I work with children behind their parents' backs. I take parental authority very seriously. If a parent tells me to stay away from their child, I will respect them.

While I have had little formal training in working with kids, I did attend a one-day training course "Working with 5-9 Year Olds" for which I received a certificate from the YMCA of the USA, issued on April 30, 1999. And I have had plenty of experience working with kids in different situations. Please contact me for references.


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