Last week, we looked at ten principles of revolutionary parenting based out of George Barna’s book, Revolutionary Parenting. If you missed the first ten principles, you can read the blog here. For some people, the idea of being “revolutionary” in your parenting might be off-putting. While we don’t want to make waves, we do want to honor God and raise kids who love him. From the standpoint of the world and the culture around us, doing that is revolutionary. But with God’s grace and the church’s support, we can get there. So, let’s dig into the next ten principles and seek the Spirit’s help.
11. Invest time and stay involved in all areas of their lives.
Developing relationship takes a tremendous quantity of time every day. The idea of quality time without quantity time is a myth. Stay involved in their education, activities, media intake, and choice of friends. Be hands-on. Be flexible and adapt to their changing needs, struggles, and questions as they arise. Stay connected to every dimension of their lives. Spend dedicated time with them and involve them in activities you are doing. One-on-one time with each child is invaluable. (Acts 20:17-19, 31)
12. Be mindful of your role as an authority, a coach, and a friend.
Don’t shy away from your God-given role as your children’s authority figure. You are responsible for them. Be clear about who is in charge. Think of yourself as a coach who is in charge, implementing a game plan, developing their potential, giving instructions, correcting when needed, and cheering them on. It is also OK to be a real friend to them – this doesn’t mean you compromise so that they like you, it means you enjoy and support them. (Deuteronomy 5:16, Exodus 20:12, John 15:12-15)
13. Establish clear and consistent boundaries and expectations.
Children thrive with boundaries. Too much freedom can be detrimental. Be clear and consistent with your rules and expectations. Be firm in your standards but gentle in your approach. Make sure they know what is right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable. This will keep them safe and help them to succeed. As they mature, their freedom should expand. (John 15:10-11, 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12)
14. Ground the rules and expectations in a biblical worldview.
Don’t just tell them what to do, explain why. Rules must be founded on principles and values. Give explanations for decisions that are grounded in God’s Word. If they understand why God has called us to live the way that he has, they are more likely to obey when you are not around. Teach them to use God’s principles to think for themselves. (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
15. Parent each child according to their unique make-up.
God made each of your children unique and your parenting must be catered to fit each child. The principles remain the same, but their implementation should be specific. Learn each of your children. Develop an approach for affection, communication, discipline, and learning that is right for each child. One size does not fit all. (1 Corinthians 9:19-22)
16. Consistently discipline your children in love.
Exercise discipline that is clear, constant, consistent, specific to the child, and covered in love. Don’t let your emotions take over. Don’t discipline in anger. Keep a calm and controlled volume and tone. Ask for forgiveness when you don’t. (Proverbs 3:11-12, 13:24, 29:1; Hebrews 12:5-11)
17. Raise your kids in the context of a thriving church community.
The idiom is true: it takes a village. Involve other families and adults in your children’s lives. Encourage them to connect with other godly authority figures. Churches, schools, and youth groups can have a huge impact, but remember, no one can influence your children like you can. (Acts 2:42-47)
18. Answer to God, not the culture.
You are a steward of God’s children, and you answer to him alone. Your parenting strategy and family values will not conform to conventional wisdom! Accept that you will be outside the norm. Stay focused on God’s plan and his will. He will guide you as you seek him! (Philippians 2:14-16, 1 Corinthians 4:1-5)
19. Regularly pray with and for your children.
Pray for your children. Pray with your children. Teach them to pray. Pray with your spouse for your children. Seek God’s will for your children. Pray diligently. Pray in faith. (Philippians 4:4-7, Ephesians 3:14-19)
20. Entrust your children’s growth to God’s hand.
Even by implementing some or all of these twenty principles, there is no guarantee concerning the life your children will choose for themselves. You are called to obey God. Don’t be discouraged by small failures in you or in them, but rather take the long view. They are in God’s hands. They are his. Be faithful and trust him. (Isaiah 64:8, 1 Corinthians 3:6-7)