Concluding the series on the parenting model based on the Olive Tree; we are attempting to produce spiritual fruit in our children that will last for generations. You can read the beginning post HERE.
Children will be as faithful as you are, so in order to see them grow into faithful individuals you will have to model it for them. Here are some action steps to help the process:
*Be faithful early in their life to what you want them committed to later in life. If you want them to go to church as adults then take them faithfully as children.
*If you commit to doing something then do it. Let your Yes be yes and your No be no.
*Be consistent. If it is morally wrong today; it is tomorrow.
*Let them know they can depend on you to do what you said you would do for and with them.
*Let them find you in your devotion time on a consistent basis.
The word means “not harsh”. It doesn’t mean to be a “mealy mouse” and it doesn’t mean to avoid discipline. It does mean to be gentle; even in your anger. In John 2, when Jesus went into temple to drive out the money-changers, He first made a whip. It was a definite and determined response, but it was “gently” planned. Here are some steps you can take to instill this character trait in your children:
*Grant forgiveness easily. Don’t hold grudges against those who have wronged you.
*Don’t let your children have to be afraid to come to you about anything, because of the way you may react.
*Get down to the children’s level when trying to explain something or in the way you respond to them.
*Be available to talk with your children always.
*Talk gently to your spouse.
*When there is a disagreement in public, such as in a restaurant, it is one thing to defend yourself, but it must be done with gentleness and respect for the other person.
The opposite here is being undisciplined. This is an important trait, because it affects all the others. Here are some action steps to help build self-control into your children:
*Don’t allow temper tantrums. “Expressing themselves” is not an excuse for unruliness.
*Learn personal disciplines and model them; things such as daily Bible reading, exercise and tithing.
*Know that sin has consequences and teach that principle to your children. (Unfortunately you may have to model it also.)
*Use appropriate discipline for each child. All children are different.
*Determine the motive behind the action before disciplining your children.
*Provide appropriate tests for them as they mature to see if they can handle a situation. As they get older grant them more and more trust.
The final step in the Olive Tree Parenting Model is to teach your children to abide! In John 15:5 Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” If our children can learn this skill all these others will become and remain a part of who they are.
I’m praying for your parenting. If you have suggestions to add to this list, feel free to comment here. I will appreciate hearing your thoughts on this.
I read lots of great books on parenting when my boys were young. Some that quickly come to mind and has surely influenced my thoughts here and the way I parented are:
Dobson, James, Dr. The Strong-Willed Child. Wheation, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. 1978.
Kimmel, Tim. Raising Kids Who Turn Out Right. Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Books. 1993.
Smalley, Gary. The Key to Your Child’s Heart. Dallas: Word Publishing. 1992.