Self Denial and Evangelical Parenting

On the weekend I was talking with a mother of teenaged girls about the statistic that 80% of evangelical, college age kids have premarital sex. Obviously, there’s a problem, and this mother was concerned for the future of the church.

People have pointed out the theological and ecclesiastical reasons for this stat: evangelical kids often come from churches that do not clearly teach biblical patterns of marriage and sexuality, and many teens leave church when they move out of their parents’ home for university or work.

Those are problems, certainly. But there may be an even more fundamental issue here: a lack of self denial for Christ’s sake. Continue reading

Children and Devotions

We all recognize the importance of instilling good habits into the lives of our young children. We’re pretty good at reminding them to eat with their mouths closed, to make their beds, and do their homework. I’m much less able and prepared to help them cultivate the practice of personal, daily devotions. Or was, until David Murray created this very useful, well-planned Bible reading plan for children.

If your child is old enough to read, they’re old enough to use this. If you haven’t seen it yet (or know someone with a young child who hasn’t), it’s worth a look. It’s been a blessing to our family as we seek to help our children develop the life-long habit of turning to the Word at the beginning (and end) of every day in private worship.

Parenting a Strong Willed Child?

I’ve been asking older, wiser Christian parents for encouragement on raising a strong willed child. Not strong willed as in, “I have to ask them three times before they go to bed,” but strong willed as in, “I need to put on riot gear before I tell them it’s bed time”. I need help. The parents (with functioning, adult, strong willed children) are amazingly positive. Most of them say essentially, “Congratulations! That’s wonderful if it doesn’t kill you!” So if you have a strong willed child, read the encouragements of older saints below and be refreshed: Continue reading

What My Mother Did (5/5)

The fifth major thing I want to imitate in my mother’s parenting is her praying. She knew that all the wonderful things she did could not save us, so she was frequently before the throne of grace asking for God’s blessing on her use of means for our salvation.

I think she prayed for us more than she disciplined us (something we frequently needed). One afternoon, we were all out on the porch, bickering and fighting about something petty. Suddenly, Mum was there, looking not very happy with all of us, and we fell silent. Continue reading

Mothers & Daughters

About ten years ago, Carloyn Mahaney and her three adult daughters gave a set of talks on the mother-daughter relationship. The three sessions (one for mothers, the other for daughters, one Q&A) are well worth listening to if you are a mother, daughter, or husband and father. The only caveat I have is that Carolyn Mahaney states repeatedly that the goal of mothering is the children’s salvation. This would mean that a godly mother who has unbelieving children has not reached her goal. Continue reading

What My Mother Did (4/5)

The fourth major thing that I want to imitate in my mother’s example is selflessness. Dying to self is something which she exemplified with small children, then with a house full of teenagers, now with grandchildren, and always with a busy husband.

Growing up, this seemed so normal that I did not even think about it. But living away from home and having my own family has made me realize how much my mother prioritized the needs of others around her, putting her own last. Continue reading

What My Mother Did (3/5)

The third main thing I’m thankful for in my mother’s example is her attitude to stuff – money, clothes, things. Her two-fold approach to material stuff had powerful spiritual consequences.

My mother took care of the things God had given her, and taught us to do the same. She used money frugally. She cleaned the house. She washed our clothes (especially working on all the grass and mud stains). She dusted picture frames, polished stuff, and generally took very good care of everything. She taught us that since God had given us this stuff, we needed to not only take care of it and make it last, but also use it in ways that blessed others. Continue reading