Do you ever get the feeling that your children aren't listening to your instructions? You have just offered an ocean of wise counsel but your little sailor seems to be floating in an entirely different sea.
You recognize the warning signs: glazed over eyes, a robotic nod of the head during inappropriate segments of the conversation, an occasional "uh, huh," and that irritating sigh of impatience that says, "How much longer is this woman going to talk?"
Teaching children to listen to advice and accept instruction is of vital importance for their character development. Solomon reiterates the wisdom of heeding instruction in Proverbs 19:20, "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise."
All parents desire their children to listen and to heed their instructions, yet many parents are frustrated by their children's lack of attentiveness. The problem often lies not in the child's inability to listen but in the parent's inability effectively to communicate.
In order to talk so your child will listen, consider the following guidelines:
My husband and I have two children with big dreams. As any parent would, we will fight for them to realize these dreams, sacrificing whatever is needed. But if they only strive towards their own goals, they will fall far short. Professional success does not equal contentment. We want to raise children to change the world. We know that we are not alone.
There are many parents like us out there. It is our commitment and challenge to, “Tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.” (Psalm 78:4) We would all claim that we want our children to know Christ and to make Christ known in their world, but there is a grave problem staring back at us.
Julie Ferwerda documents this problem in her book One Million Arrows.The Barna Group’s statistical findings state that today’s Christian parents rely on the church to do most (if not all) of their children’s religious training. Not only that, but they have no plan for the spiritual development of their children; they do not consider it a priority in their homes and daily lives; they do not have any spiritual goals for their families.
While submitting her manuscript to publishers for consideration, Julie received a rejection letter from a prominent Christian family ministry. While this publishing house loved the concept of the book, they stated that Christian parents seldom follow through in their commitment to “real life” spiritual training. Therefore, the book would not have a market in publication.
Not a market for publication? You have got to be kidding me! Parents, if we are not committed to developing spiritual leaders in the home, then who is? The next generation is going to be spiritually bankrupt if we do not start putting actions to our words. And just for the record, I am speaking as much to myself as to anyone else out there.
We have got some prioritizing to do. Is the world going to change our children? Or are they going to change the world? Without question, One Million Arrows is one of the best books that I have ever read on parenting. It is a call to action for parents to be deeply committed to the spiritual training of their children and to live beyond individualistic mediocrity. (Review by Kristen Charles- Ministry-to-Children)
We know artists by their most important creations: Michelangelo by the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Beethoven by his "Fifth Symphony," George Lucas by the Star Wars saga. Each masterpiece reveals something of its creator.
The same is true of God. We catch a glimpse of the Artist at work by reading the first two chapters of Genesis. He spoke galaxies into existence, formed the mountains, filled the oceans, and planted forests with a magnificent range of color and variety. His playful side is evident in creatures such as humming birds, ostriches and skunks. But the masterpiece that reveals more about God than anything else shows up when God made something called "family" (Genesis 1:27-28).
God wants your family to succeed and prosper, and He has given you the blueprint to make your family's happiness possible! The Bible contains rock-solid principles upon which you can build a strong family.
Put it down big and bold - God is the architect of the home. If your family is going to stand against the storms that will blow, you must hold fast to the Word and it's promises and commands for your home.
I love Psalm 27:1, which says, "Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it." Building a home is a very complicated matter that takes more than human wit and wisdom to accomplish. You need a divine plan and a divine Builder to construct a happy, fruitful, and prosperous Christian home. That Builder and that plan are Christ and His Word.
Church planting and growth has been a focus for most of my ministry. I frequently lecture and speak on church planting and have been actively involved in many church plants. Under God's hand and direction, my wife, Kaye, and I planted the