We have always had childrearing "experts" who have printed their advice to parents in numerous books and pamphlets. Over the past several decades there has been a definite shift in the philosophy of child care. Earlier "experts" advocated very rigid schedules regarding feeding and sleep. They also prohibited overindulgence in pleasures provided by a pacifier, security blanket, or the rocking chair. The current trend in parenting manuals is to reassure the parents that mistakes will be made, but they need to keep trying to do their best at rearing their children with "tender loving care."
Children need to know they have the steady, firm guidance of parents or authority figures who love them. How refreshing it is to observe children minding their parents because they love and respect them, rather than obeying out of a sense of duty. What a wonderful opportunity we have, as Christian mothers, to influence our children to serve the Lord with that same obedience, respect, and love.
The apostle Paul frequently speaks of love. One such verse is recorded in Ephesians 5:2, "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour." We, as mothers, need to be displaying the love of God as Paul displayed it, and loving one another even as God for Christ's sake hath loved us. Our children and young people need to see "Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith; and being rooted and grounded in love." Ephesians 3:17.
Teachers, parents and people with casual contact imprint our children's personalities and character, sometimes even impacting their future decisions. When we are with children, we need to bear in mind that our words and actions are leaving an indelible print on their lives. Are they seeing our love for God and others, or are they seeing a self-seeking love? Do they watch us serving the Lord spontaneously and effortlessly because we love him and appreciate the great salvation he has given us?
Children prosper from mothers who, like the parenting manuals state, are diligently trying to do their best to guide them with "tender loving care." May we always be alert for those opportunities to pray for the children in our lives and to influence them to love and obey the Lord. Rt. 1 Box 109-A, Rivesville, WV 26588.
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