One of the most neglected institutions in America today is the home. The home is the heart of society. If our homes are in turmoil, our whole society suffers. One study claimed that children of working mothers entrusted to day care were just as well adjusted, had the same self-esteem, and faired just as well as the children of stay-at-home moms. I am not interested in debating the validity of that study or the conclusions that were drawn. Most mothers would tell you that if they could, they would prefer to be at home with their young children. Common sense would indicate that it is in the best interest of the kids to have their mothers at home. I understand that it is not always possible for mothers to be at home with their children, but I think we all know that it is the preferred method of child rearing. Having said that, I offer the following practical suggestions for building a better home.
First, parents need to provide an atmosphere of love and harmony for their children. Husbands and wives are commanded in the Scriptures to love one another (Ephesians 5:25; Titus 2:4). Do not be afraid to show affection.
Second, put God at the center of your home. Children need a foundation of faith to build on, and it needs to come from both parents. Worship together. Pray at meals. Sing and read the Bible as a family. Parents are solemnly charged to bring up their children in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).
Third, be a good example. Whether we like it or not, we are an example to our children. We must choose to be a good example. Too often parents are guilty of the sin of hypocrisy. Like the Pharisees, we "say, and do not" (Matthew 23:3). Children whose parents smoke, drink, and swear are not going to be inclined to listen when mom and dad tell them they should not do such things. Children become what they see!
Fourth, be firm, but fair. Children need discipline (Proverbs 13:24). However, temper your justice with mercy, and never abuse a youngster!
Fifth, be generous with your time. There is no gift you can give more valuable than yourself. Our children crave our attention. What they need is not just quality time. They need a quantity of quality time. Time spent with children is never wasted.
Sixth, encourage; do not always be critical.
Seventh, say, "I love you" a lot. Say it with words and with acts of kindness.
Remember, if we can help, please let us know. 534 Sixth St., Marietta, OH 45750. http://sixthandwashingtonchurchofchrist.org
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