home > Pastor’s Desk > 2022 > September 30th > 5 INDISPENSABLE GUIDELINES FOR NEW PARENTS


If you are not yet a parent and one day hope to become a parent, this is for you. Find a quiet place, take the next six minutes thirteen seconds and use the reading of this article as an investment into your future parenting strategies. I did not invent these guidelines. Like many parents who have also discovered the value of these guidelines, once discovered, they seem obvious. These successful parents probably grew up with own parents who inculcated these guidelines almost intuitively. However, my suspicion is that this is becoming increasingly rarer. As with all true guidelines they are adaptable, flexible, and are not a guarantee of parental success — but if ignored they become the point in the mathematical problem solving where you can see you made an error in your working out. In other words, while these guidelines may not guarantee success, if ignored their neglect almost certainly leads to frustration and disappointment. Here are five indispensable guidelines for every prospective new parent.

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

 

THE JOY AND PRIVILEGE OF PARENTING

Becoming a parent is a privilege not a right. Having and raising children is one of the primary goals for a couple when they get married. From the outset it is important to understand that children do not need parents – they need their father and mother. Any single parent will tell you that it is tough being a single parent. Every single parent has twice the responsibility and only have half the resources when compared to the ideal situation afforded by loving a husband and wife who together raise their child/ren. The partnership of a father and a mother in raising their children is an investment of their time often demanding a great sacrifice personal and even career ambitions. Reflecting on this one mother recently told me, “Sure being a mother is hard work but it is far more rewarding than being the winner of some tennis Grand Slam tournament!” Many young people set off on the journey of married life together expecting that they can start a family at the time of their choosing only to discover that this is not always the case — and even sadly, for some, may never be the case. So, if the Good LORD blesses you with a child in your own marriage journey, you are indeed blessed and privileged, even on those inevitable days when your child is ratty and snooty!  And it’s on those days that it’s going to be difficult for you to appreciate what I am now about to state: without the partnership of committed principle-guided fathers and mothers raising their children, our society does not have hope of seeing God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10).

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged,
and the glory of children is their fathers.
Proverbs 17:6

Indispensable guideline #1 for new parents, Be consistent- children need routine!Indispensable guideline #1 for new parents, Be consistent – children need routine!

Consistent routines are essential for a child to feel secure. Children are set up to flourish when they up brought up in a secure environment. These routines provide predictability and boundaries. Routines such as bedtime preparation (putting toys away, bathing, pyjamas, and bedtime chats/stories/prayers), mealtime preparation (cleaning up whatever they were playing with, helping to set the table, clearing away dishes from the table, putting all the condiments back in the pantry, washing and drying the dishes), getting in the car preparations (make sure your bed is made, things removed from the bedroom floor and put back where they belong, towels returned to the bathroom and hang-up to dry, socks on shoes on, and depending on the occasion – bags packed).  Of course, mum and dad should model daily routines as they establish consistent bed times, meal times, get-up times, for their child.

Parents need to be appropriate and consistent with discipline and consequences. As your child gets older the appropriateness of the discipline will change – but your consistency should not and discipline should never be done in anger! 

¶ A refusal to correct is a refusal to love;
love your children by disciplining them.
Proverbs 13:24 THE MESSAGE

Indispensable guideline #2 for new parents, Have a dinner table - dinner time is not just about food!Indispensable guideline #2 for new parents, Have a Dinner Table – Dinner time is not just about food!

A family dinner table is the sacred meeting venue for a daily family rendezvous. It is the place for daily updates, pastoring by parents, training (where children learn the social skills of staying at the table until everyone else has finished their meal), learning to show thankfulness and appreciation even for unfamiliar food (a social skill necessary whenever dining at someone’s house overseas for example [note 1Cor. 10:27), and it is a place where a father can shepherd his child’s heart by asking questions requiring appropriate thought. The family dining table is the place where each one seated at it is accepted. It is at this sacred dining table where children witness their parents welcoming and accepting occasional guests (even the friends of their children). Jesus Christ often used a dining table as a place where He accepted people, and parents should seek to emulate this to their children.

¶ And as He reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and His disciples,
for there were many who followed Him.
Mark 2:15

Indispensable guideline #3 for new parents, Work as a United Team - Do not disagree in front of your children!Indispensable guideline #3 for new parents, Work As A Team – Do not disagree in front of your children!

Parents must agree about how they are going to parent their children and never never disagree with each other in front of their children about how they are to discipline their child’s misbehaviour. All children have a knack for exploiting divisions between their parents – so don’t give them any unnecessary opportunity to do so! I do not, however, want to be misunderstood though. I am not suggesting that your child/ren should never see his or her parents disagree. In fact, parents should model how to resolve disagreements in front of their child/ren. (Hopefully most married couples will remember from their marriage preparation sessions the difference between fighting and arguing.) This is why it is critical for new parents to not neglect their own relationship with each other. Your weekly date is critically important, and your regular quiet end-of-day couch time when your child/ren is/are in bed is similarly indispensable. The strength of any parent-child relationship is grounded in the strength of your marriage.

¶ I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you,
but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
First Corinthians 1:10

Indispensable guideline #4 for new parents, Read Books to Your Child – Books enthral, enchant, excite, and educate a child like nothing else can!

Parents should introduce their child/ren to books from the earliest age because books will let them know that they are not the centre of this world. From picture books with just one or two words on each page, and then progressively to books with more words on each page than pictures, then, as your child grows to understand the power of words which convey concepts, books that are just words. Books are a divinely ordained means by which ideas can be communicated as evidenced by the Bible itself and its encouragement to learn from books as seen in the examples of the apostles who often cited and referred to non-Biblical books (note Acts 17:28 and  2Tim. 4:13). Parents should familiarise their children with as many of the world’s great books as they can (refer to Mortimer J. Adler’s list of Great Books). The act of reading a physical book to your child sends a profound message. Books are then seen as a source of information, entertainment, education, and inspiration for your child/ren. Reading good and appropriate books to your child sets him or her up to learn how to learn and concentrate.  

Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance
Proverbs 1:5

Indispensable guideline #5 for new parents, Commit to Your Church - Show your child why God is great!Indispensable guideline #5 for new parents, Commit to Your Church – Show your child why God is great!

Children need to learn that they are members of two families – their natural family and their spiritual-community (church) family. Parents should make a commitment to making attending church with their children as one of their highest priorities. When children watch their parents make attending church one of the most important parts of their week, they come to see that God must be great, very great. Even when they are young and it may mean that either parent has to sit with or nurse their child at the expense of their own worship experience, it sends a tremendously powerful and fruitful message to their children. Enrolling them into Kids Church when they are old enough and then having them join the church’s youth group when they commence High School, will pay enormous dividends both socially and spiritually. Being a part of a church community is something every parent should teach their children from birth so that they have the best opportunity to come to know Christ from the earliest age.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Psalm 127:4-5

Parenting is a great blessing. Kim and I have been blessed by the Lord giving us four grown children (with just one left at home). I strongly encourage every prospective parent to plan now on how they can learn to be the best father of mother they can be. The result could potentially be the transformation of our culture.

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children,
and shall talk of them when you sit in your house,
and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down,
and when you rise.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Your Pastor,

Andrew

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HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR RELATIONSHIP SKILLS

This year we have been laying a foundation for knowing God and then each Sunday building upon it. Throughout June we are focusing on how knowing God enables us to find our joy in Him and consequently to discover that He enables us to find joy in our relationships with others. But sadly, for many people who have vowed to love, serve, and follow Jesus, this has not always been easy to do. This is why the current sub-theme of humility is critically important if someone desires to truly experience joy in each of their various relationships with others. 

KNOWING GOD

In the past few months, we have been hearing in Church and also by reading the Pastor’s Desks that through the Psalms and by the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, we can know God more. The Psalms show God as our Shepherd, God’s character is unchanging, we can be still and know Him, and that He is poetic. The Fruit of the Spirit reminds us that God is faithful, gentle and kind, and that we need to stay close to Him in the same way a baby gets nutrients from its mother through the umbilical cord. Knowing these things, we can become more like God as He helps us outwork His character in our lives. Philippians 3:10 challenged me in this regard some time ago.

RULES RULES AND MORE RULES

What comes to mind when you hear the word Rules? For some, it is a welcome relief to all the chaos surrounding us. Rules can provide comfort, safety, stability, predictability and protection. But for many others, as soon as you hear the word rules, it causes you to sigh loudly, followed by the instant urge to do the opposite. It can cause an immense sense of frustration along with that feeling of being boxed or caged in. Then some rules are plain silly as they make no sense, or there appears to be no apparent reason for why the rule/s exists in the first place. 

The Vine and the Umbilical Cord: Life, Abiding and Bearing FruitThe Vine and the Umbilical Cord: Life, Abiding and Bearing Fruit

Jesus’ allegory in John 15:1-17 of the vine and the branches provides a beautiful picture of the intimate and living relationship available to those who would abide in Him, the true Vine; and it illustrates how naturally the Holy Spirit is able to produce fruit in the lives of those who are willing to be branches abiding in the vine.

Knowing God Through The Fruit Of The Spirit

I’m sure you can picture an occasion where food delicacies are served and someone is there who has lost all sense of decorum to the point of being rude to get to the food before others and is unable or unwilling to engage in any level of conversation for the sake of finding the choicest of foods. Maybe that was you or me on occasions. Or an All You Can Eat challenge restaurant. It is a picture of complete lack of self-restraint (especially if Homer Simpson is involved). Whilst we are away, I am looking forward to visiting a town (Kenilworth) with a bakery tourist attraction that sells 1kg doughnuts. I’m not sure what will happen there, but I can imagine many have risen to a challenge.

WHAT CHARMING BETRAYERS DESERVE ACCORDING TO THE PSALM OF KING DAVID, NUMBER 55

Australia is now grappling with a national crisis — the violent abuse of women by men. Every four days in Australia a woman is being murdered [Source]. The sad probability is that she was murdered by “a current or former intimate partner” [Source]. But added to this alarming statistic is the even greater and more horrifying statistic of number of women who are experiencing abuse – physical; sexual; verbal; financial; psychological – daily. In fact, it is so prevalent that most people working in this arena know that most domestic abuse incidents in Australia are not reported. Abuse is oppression. And since the Bible is so clear and consistent in its condemnation of oppression of the vulnerable you would naturally assume that this national crisis was being thundered and denounced as a great evil from the majority of pulpits around our country at the moment. This assumption is further reinforced by the guesstimate that one-in-four women in every Australian church is regularly abused in some way by a man. But I suspect that it is not.

KNOWING GOD THROUGH PSALM 23

My cat, Lola, had a beautiful, fluffy, soft coat. I had her for 13 years so I knew her very well. She loved a cuddle and snuggling at night sleeping in the crook of my arm. She loved me but with others she could be a rascal, hissing or swiping her claws. She never scoffed her food but was a grazer. It was common to hear her crunching her biscuits for a midnight snack and she loved ice cream. She loved hiding in cardboard boxes or in the pantry. She particularly hated the car evidenced by her continual mournful meowing til she got out. As I knew her, she also knew me. She knew I would feed her and give her pats or cuddles. When I called her she knew my soft voice, my touch, my smell. She knew my growly voice when she had done the wrong thing. When I’d take her to the vet she would be still in my arms as the vet examined her and vaccinated her. If she was injured or sick I would look after her.

KNOWING GOD THROUGH PSALM 22

The Bible is an amazing book. As we look through the book of Psalms we can so unbelievably clearly see God at work. And also most poignantly, this Psalm – Psalm 22 – prophetically points to, and closely mirrors Jesus and the events of the cross mentioned in the New Testament. This Psalm is well over 1000 years prior to Jesus.There are some well known passages of Scripture that stand out as being prophetic promises of the Messiah. These prophetic words show us that God is Omniscient; He knows everything. The first Messianic prophecy shows that the seed of the woman would eventually defeat the devil.

THIS IS HOW AN EXPERT SUCCESSFULLY FOUGHT SPIRITUAL WARS

home > Pastor's Desk > 2024 > April 12th > THIS IS HOW AN EXPERT SUCCESSFULLY FOUGHT SPIRITUAL WARSThe distance between the spiritual dimension and our earthly-material dimension is a lot thinner than most people realise! This means that there is a direct...

KNOWING GOD THROUGH THE PSALMS

So many thriller movies are just funny. Of course they are not meant to be and many people would find them more like nightmare material. The producers would be horrified to see me giggling at some of their ‘scary’ bits, but it’s just the way I’m wired. I see more of the special effects than the story line and I see the absurdity of the scenes that lack the necessary rules of consistency instead of the fear factor they hope. I once watched a movie where the victim lay dead bleeding from the mouth but the make-up blood had not dripped to the ground with gravity, but rather, accidentally dripped up. The whole movie just became hilarious from that point on.