***DAY 1***Parenting by Design… (1/1)


 As hard as it is to deliver a consequence to a child for a bad choice, the alternative can often be even worse. When I am tempted to forego discipline, I have to ask myself, “What is the most loving thing I can do for my child?” In almost every case, the answer is to give the child the consequence he has earned, so he can learn the lesson God has designed for him.

A good consequence, delivered with empathy, demonstrates love and respect for your child’s freedom to choose and his ability to learn from the consequence of a bad decision. The author of Hebrews says it well: “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Heb 12:11).

For the LORD corrects those He loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:12 NLT)


***DAY 2***Parenting by Design… (1/2)


When our children suffer, whether from their own bad choices or those of someone else, we want so badly to rescue them from the pain or to tell them how to avoid finding themselves in that predicament again. But, God has another plan — to perfect them through their trials. Character-building lessons are rarely learned from the triumphs of life. Rather, it is the trials in our lives that teach us how to persevere despite the pain. Taking trials away from our kids deprives them of the chance to grow, build character, and learn to hope in God.

The best character-building lessons are learned from trials. Don’t inhibit your child’s growth by rescuing them from or taking over difficult situations.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. (Romans 5:3-5 NLT)


***DAY 3***Parenting by Design… (1/3)


When you are faced with disrespectful, disobedient, or rebellious behavior, it is natural to get angry. Unfortunately the natural response is least likely to uncover the heart issues that lie underneath the child’s bad behavior. This is because the “anger of man” distracts us from a pursuit of righteousness. The anger of a parent confronted with a child’s poor choice shifts the focus from the child’s bad behavior to the parent’s angry response.

These verses tell us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Listening carefully, speaking little, and helping your child explore the motives behind his behavior can lead to the sort of insight that points the child toward the righteousness of God. Replace anger with empathy, and see what happens.

Responding to disobedience with empathy rather than anger is difficult, but the reward is great.

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. (James 1:19-20 NLT)


***DAY 4***Parenting by Design… (1/4)


“Our love grows soft if it is not strengthened by truth, and our truth grows hard if it is not softened by love.” — John Stott.

The essence of empathy is balancing truth and love. A rescuing parent leans heavily on love, but shies away from truth. A dictating parent leans heavily on truth, but mixes in little love. A counselor parent is able to express his love for the child no matter what they say or do, yet is strong enough to deliver appropriate consequences and to allow his child to struggle so that real learning takes place. It is a difficult balance, and our anxiety or anger often reveals where we fall on the continuum between rescuer and dictator. Is your love too soft, or your truth too hard?

Striking a balance between truth and love models our heavenly Father’s relationship with us.

Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of His body, the church. (Ephesians 4:15 NLT)


***DAY 5***Parenting by Design… (1/5)


As Christians, we know how the story is going to end. Yet, the hope into which we have been saved is unseen. What we can see is the world and its demands. We must keep our minds focused on the unseen, or the pressure to live for today’s culture will swallow us up. The world demands our attention all the time, from every direction. The ever-present media (TV, magazines, newspapers, internet) distracts us from the unseen and lures us with the false hope of instant gratification. Fortunately, God provides a defense: “the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you” (Rom 8:11).

Demonstrate an eternal perspective for your kids. Talk about the messages the culture is sending and contrast them with the hope we have as followers of Christ.

We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) (Romans 8:24-25 NLT)


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