Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut

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Practical Ways to Admonish Your Children

  • Jim Townsley
  • Feb 20, 2008
  • Series: A Heart for the Home

Excerpts from Pastor Townsley's book A Heart for the Home

Chapter Nine — Practical Ways to Admonish Your Children

Read to your children. Reading good books that teach character and Christian principles is invaluable in the early childhood years. Children enjoy stories and learn basic lessons from them. Reading Bible stories is a very important exercise for young minds, and early on daily Bible reading must become a staple in the home. We will be the same tomorrow as we are today, except for the books we read and the people we meet. Music also is a powerful influence on individuals and society. Providing good music during the early childhood years develops a taste for the right kind of music. Music is a powerful medium that can generate lofty thoughts of God or a rebellious spirit. The music children learn at an early age will provide an appreciation for Godly music that will remain with them for a long time.

Hugs and kisses provide a sense of safety and security and are good reasons to hold and touch your children. Man is made in such a way that caresses are needful. Abundant love and affection should be displayed, particularly while children are young. Well-adjusted children have been given much love and affection. Learn to be generous with caresses to your little ones. I remember a special occasion when my last daughter was nearing the end of her childhood years. She walked into the living room and I suddenly realized how old she was becoming so I said to her, "Come sit on daddy's lap; I want to hold you for awhile." That may have been the last occasion I had to hold her on my lap. At the time she didn't understand why I wanted to hold her, but I knew soon she would be too old to sit on my lap. We must cherish the moments while we can. Children who receive proper attention from their parents while they are young will avoid the danger of seeking that love from the wrong source later in life.

Every child has an inclination toward some skill, and parents should help them to learn it. Discover your children's inclinations. Do they enjoy music? Perhaps they are more mechanically inclined. Maybe they enjoy flowers or birds. Children have an inclination toward something more than television and electronic games. Find the activities your children seem to respond to and endeavor to help them develop the skills for those activities. Provide the opportunity and means for them to be involved, to learn and gain confidence through them. Television is a powerful source of entertainment and information; however its bad side (sex and violence) is equally well documented. Though the social ills of television should concern parents, the time wasted-time that could have been used to develop character and skill-should be as great a concern. I know several families that do not own a TV, and I believe they are better for it. Depending on whose poll you read, Americans watch roughly twenty-five hours of television per week. Imagine if some of that time were spent teaching and encouraging your children.

Give them responsibility. Caring for a pet, cleaning their room, and taking out the trash are basic tasks every child must learn. However, wise parents can develop other responsibilities. Helping in the care and upkeep of the home can gradually be taught. Cooking, sewing, cleaning the car, and changing the car's oil are only a few suggestions. My children claim I am an expert at finding things for them to do. However, they all admit today they are capable of performing many tasks their peers cannot do. Helping neighbors and public service should be a part of every young person's life. Writing thank-you notes should be encouraged whenever necessary. Children should be taught to send thank-you notes to those who give them Christmas and birthday presents.

Recognize your children's age capabilities. Children are often capable of tasks earlier than most parents recognize. However, children must not be held accountable for more than they are capable of doing. Allow them to be children, and don't make them become adults prematurely. Allow them to make mistakes, from which they can learn. Small children may break the vase left on the coffee table, so why not leave an unbreakable vase there while they're learning not to touch it. Taking away the vase would remove the opportunity to train them to do right. Removing the struggle may eliminate the opportunity to teach and admonish them. I would much rather a child struggle with the command to restrain from touching a vase than fail and struggle later in life with a much more important challenge. When you see them doing well, let them know. Take advantage of the good behavior to create a sense of high expectation. Seek opportunities to admonish your children and use the daily opportunities provided to do so.

What determines a child's future? Every young person is a result of their physical make-up, as well as influence from their parents, friends, books, media, life experiences and, most importantly, from God. Therefore wise parents will seek to provide all the best influences to help their children become the best Christians they can be.