Teach a child to obey…

  • Without challenge
  • Without excuse
  • Without delay

Easier said than done? Yes.

When do you start? When they are young, very young.

That pretty much says it all.


The other morning I was spending some time alone, praying for my family.  I was praying for my daughter in particular.  I have had a renewed sense of urgency for her ever since she started kindergarten.  As I was praying I was really struck by the idea that Satan is after her.  It’s not really just her.  It’s all of us.  Satan is after us like a hungry lion (1 Peter 5:8).  Just the mere thought of that is daunting.  As I kept pondering that, I couldn’t get over the idea that Satan was trying to “rob” us of what is not rightfully his – our children.

Then I began to wonder how I could communicate this to my daughter so that she understood the severity of what this was like.  The best description I could come up with was to take the word “rob” and make an acronym out of it.

ROB – for our children:

  • R – espect
  • O – bedience
  • B – ehavior

As a parent and as a teacher this encapsulates what I believe, particularly with younger children.  They should be taught respect.  Not only should they be taught respect but they should also be expected to show it.  If you train up a young child with this idea then it sets the foundation for growth and discipline down the road.  All of their behavior will have the influence of this training.  This develops a heart that is sensitive to God.  This is never as easy as it looks but it is worthwhile.

Respect, obedience, and behavior are hot buttons in today’s culture but defining them more clearly may have to wait for another time because parenting includes much more than teaching this triad of life skills.  Parenting also includes what we give our children so that we don’t leave an open door for someone else to come in and make themselves at home.  Here are three things that we should be giving our children.

ROB – for the parents:

  • R – elationship
  • O – rder
  • B – oundaries

Parenting involves making the relationship with your children a high priority.  It also involves establishing a sense of order and setting boundaries so that a growing family knows what to expect.  We also need to understand how much children crave consistency and routine.  It has been said that children spell love with the letters T-I-M-E.  Others have said they want quality not quantity.  While both of these ideas are creative, they are only partially correct.  Why not have both quality and quantity?  Children need both!
Don’t give over the responsibility of parenting to anyone else.  Schools can be good but that’s not their purpose.  Babysitters are good but that’s not their purpose.  Grandparents are good but that’s not even their primary purpose.  It is the responsibility of us, the parents.

Don’t be mistaken.  Satan will cull the weak from from the herd.  He will rob us blind if we let him.  So as simply as I can put it… don’t let him!

These are articles you MUST take the time to read, especially if you are a parent or a teenager.

A Word to Young Ladies from a Dad

A Little Advice to Young Men

Now a Word for the Ladies

Too often and too soon, too many parents are giving up their parental authority in an effort to help their sons or daughters learn to accept responsibility.

This means that too many youth are unaccountable for their time, their relationships, their finances, their respect for authority, or even their spiritual growth.

In the end, does this create more problems than solutions?

Is this the best approach?

Is it a biblical approach?

What do you think?

During the summer I am at home a lot more. Because of that, I get to spend more time with my family. The other day I was reading nursery rhymes with my daughter. This one, in particular, caught my attention.

Little Ships

Little ships
Must keep the shore;
Larger ships
May venture more.

There’s not much to this nursery rhyme really. However, the thing that caught my attention is how closely this imitates life, both spiritually and physically.

My daughter is a young child. There isn’t much she does where my wife and I aren’t around. She has strict limits on everything from television time to where she goes outside. That is the way it should be! As she starts to mature and show responsibility our boundaries and limits for her will expand.

She will be allowed to venture out a little further from the shore.

Spiritually, it is much the same way. As one is nurturing a younger believer (age or experience) there is a tremendous opportunity to help him or her by spending quality time together. This is when you help solidify what is already occurring in their heart. This is also where you can offer guidance as their actions learn to align with what their heart is already experiencing.

As someone continues to mature you release them a bit at a time. Think about Jesus and his followers. They spent massive amounts of life together. When the time came he released them into the roles they were to fill.

They ventured further from the shore with a course of travel in mind.

Isn’t that the way it should be?

Don’t ever forget, though, we (or they) are never alone. As parents, both spiritually and physically, we should always available to help, to encourage, to pray, to offer advice, to pick them up when they fall (they will), and to love them.

This whole nursery rhyme thing reminds me of something else that I read somewhere. I don’t know who said it or where I read it but it goes something like this…

I do, you watch
I do, you help
You do, I help
You do, I watch

This is the pattern of discipleship, whether spiritual or familial. If you’d like a good book to read on this let me suggest “The Master Plan of Evangelism” by Robert E. Coleman.

Even better than that… grab a partner, pull up anchor, and head out to sea!