1. "Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him." (Psalm 127:3)
Two people fall in love and promise to honor each other before God and all their families. In due time, they are blessed with a beautiful child. This Scripture tells us that our child is a gift. One way our children will know this is if we cherish them like the gifts they are. We can thank God for our children every day, remembering there are some who are not blessed with children.
Hannah prayed for a child. Year after year, her barrenness broke her heart. She wanted a child more than anything. One day God answered her prayer and Hannah raised her child to follow God, just as she promised.
2. "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb..."
“… I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you.” (Psalm 139:13-18)
In these verses, we learn God knit your child in his mother’s womb. Nothing was by chance. Every detail was God’s design. When a child understands God created him, it becomes easier for him to accept differences he begins to notice.
My daughter was born at just 3 1/2 pounds. She grew up feeling she was made by God, just the way she was. He chose each of her features and he even picked the day she would be born. Knowing God cares about every detail shows us how much he loves us.
3. "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11)
This verse tells us God is behind discipline. God disciplines those he loves, and our children need to know we discipline them for the same reason. It’s out of love. And though it is not a joyful time, it still will yield righteousness if they allow their hearts to stay open.
When I was a child I was physically abused. After we were hit, we were told to get away from them. We did not feel God’s love at all because we were punished; it was not discipline. It’s important to love your child after he/she is disciplined. Because you love them, you want to make sure you discipline them. My son came up to me when he was just three years old and told me, “Mom, you forgot to spank me.” It is possible to teach discipline to young children, and they will know it is out of love that you want to correct them.
4. "So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?...'"4. "So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?...'"
“… For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:31-33)
In this passage, God shows us he knows our basic needs. And in verse 33, God tells us what matters most. First, we are to seek him. The more we can show our children how to do this, the more it will become second nature to them.
The world will try to teach our children that they are in charge of their own lives. It will tell them if they want to be rich, it’s up to them. It’s up to us to combat what they will hear In the world. God is the provider of our needs. His name is Jehovah Jireh, which means the Lord will provide. Not the Lord might provide.
5. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
At one time or another, most of us have learned we need to lean on God. In these verses, the Bible reminds us to trust God wholly. But sometimes, instead of leaning on God, we try to figure things out by ourselves. There will be moments in your life as a parent when you can share what happened when you trusted God with only part of your heart. That will be something they will always remember.
When we are transparent with our children, they will feel they can also come to us and share their struggles. Jesus got weary and tired because he was human. We don’t have to be superheroes; we can be approachable.
6. "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32)
As parents, we sometimes get tired and irritable. And the more responsibilities we have, the more tired we can get. Sometimes we may snap at our children. But when we feel frayed around the edges, we can decide we will still have a good attitude. In this Scripture, God tells us why we should be kind. It’s because God was kind to us through Jesus. Making the decision to be kind, even when things get nerve-wracking, will show your child that he can make the same choice.
And when you are tempted to react angrily to an angry child, God gives further instructions. Proverbs 15:1. A soft answer really does make a difference. As parents, we set the tone.
7. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." (Ephesians 6:1)
Obedience was not just set up for parents and children. God values obedience. In this verse, the Bible tells children to obey their parents. In 1 Samuel 15:22, God explains how important obedience is. God says it is better than sacrifice, and we know that God values sacrifice. God was the one who told the people to sacrifice a lamb to cover their sins, until later when God sacrificed his lamb—Jesus. Obedience is very important to God.
The more your children can learn to obey you, the easier they will find it to obey God. And that’s your goal, to raise children who will follow and obey God. We can honor God and they will see it.
8. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." (Ephesians 5:25)
Here we have a wonderful lesson God wants us to teach our children. We have the privilege of teaching them how to love their spouse. God says marriage is a picture of how Christ loves the church. When you and I can show our children what a healthy marriage looks like, where each person respects and honors the other, our children will get an idea of how much Christ loves us, the church.
There is no place for derogatory statements to one another. We should not laugh at the expense of another. Children will follow our lead. If we treat our mate with respect, we are setting the bar high for them. Sons will learn that women are to be respected, daughters will require that boys respect them. They will not learn this when they watch television, or see some movies. It’s our job to show them what God had in mind when he created marriage.
9. "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (Colossians 3:13)
The best way to show your children about forgiveness is to ask for forgiveness when you make a mistake. We all make mistakes. This Scripture tells us we are to bear with one another, which means accepting each other, even with our faults.
Forgiveness is something we can teach our children, with their siblings, with their friends, and even with ourselves. We did not deserve forgiveness, and yet God forgave us. We are to forgive in the same way. There is no place for grudges. Children will watch what you do, more than anything you say. Do your best.
Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker, and published author of 14 books including her poetry series, He Whispers: poetic conversations with God. She has also published children’s books where she tucks truths inside. You can visit her author page here, or learn more about her on her website. She is a regular contributor to Crosswalk.com.