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There are two things that no one can choose for themselves:

1)    Family, the first institution a child is a part of by birth in divine purpose and timing of God and

2)    Parents, the leaders which are ordained by God and not chosen by the child for himself.

No wonder why the word of God is filled with scriptures and passages emphasizing the importance of a God-centred family life; of relationship that a children should have with his/her parents; the love, respect and honour children should have for their parents and also guidance for parents to bring up their children in a godly manner.

Let me start by stating that parents are anointed of God to bring up their children. No one can care for their children more than the parents. Every parent in the world wants and desires nothing but the best for their children and they strive to do that. They work that extra hour to make some extra money for that new pair of shoes that have to be worn on sports day. There are thousands of examples of how parents sacrificially bring up their children. Thank God for parents!

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Along with anointing that enables comes a great responsibility because it’s not just children that are being raised in a family, but a generation that will outlive their parents and be instrumental in establishing God’s kingdom on earth and more importantly it’s about raising children who would one day be parents themselves.

Parents are the biggest influence children could ever have and utmost care has to be taken to ensure that we as parents are a good influence. Now, I am no expert on dispensing parenting tips. I don’t have my own children yet. But I am trying to learn and prepare myself for when they come. Even while writing this post, I spoke and sought advice from a very close pastor friend of mine, whom I have seen bringing up his children beautifully.

The truth is that parents too can be a bad influence on their children. The Bible tells us that Isaac loved Esau because he used to hunt and bring him the kill. Similarly, Rebecca loved Jacob more as he was more involved in the kitchen. Both parents were partial towards one child. Furthermore, it was Rebecca who influenced Jacob in robbing Esau of his birthright by posing as his elder brother in front of his blind father. She sowed lies, deceit and exploiting someone’s weakness into him. Eventually, the brothers became enemies. One lived in fear of the other for a life time. It took a rather long, treacherous path for Jacob to be who God had called him to be.

Eli the high priest did not bring correction to his sons who were robbing the offerings in the temple of God. And because of his apathetic approach to the wrong his children were doing, the entire household ended up being cursed.

Little things that we do assuming them to be harmless turn out to be disastrous. For example, when a child answers the phone and there is someone you don’t want to talk to on the other end, we ask the child to say daddy is not home; or having a heated argument with your spouse when the children are in the same room; the language that is used when children are around. All these are seeds sown into children which will bear fruit much later in their lives.

The same applies for spiritual parenting. If as biological parents we do so much, how much more serious do we have to take spiritual parenting! The responsibility of bringing up a generation of godly spiritual children is not lesser than how we treat our own. How do we treat the new born in the Lord? How do we love? How do we teach the word? How do we bring correction?  What are we sowing into their lives by our words, actions and behaviour?

There is a lot more to parenting than this which I am yet to learn. But for now, as the bible says in Joshua 1:8b “…that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will have good success”, I pray that we will have good success in parenting (biological and spiritually) and bringing up godly children. Let us try to be like the best Father, Our Father in heaven and ask Him to teach us how to be good parents on this earth.

What kind of an influence do you desire to be? What can you do or not do? Let’s encourage each other!