Be Still Know
READ: Proverbs 1:8-9 NLT
‘My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honour around your neck.’
I would be fascinated to know what you remember your parents teaching you. Their words shape the whole of our lives. I remember my father insisting that we show “instant obedience”. I presumably remember it so clearly because we so often failed to do it! I remember my mother giving us great encouragement when we were kind to others. My parents are no longer with us but their influence lives on. I can still hear their words of guidance, encouragement and warning.
Since we became foster parents five years ago we have been encouraged to spend a lot of time reflecting on parenting skills. One point that is often and helpfully made is that parents are never perfect, and that what we need to be is “good enough parents”. I like that expression. We won’t always get it right but because of our love for our children we will, with God’s help, always seek to be good enough.
Parents are referred to repeatedly throughout the book of Proverbs and the key theme is discipline. This could easily sound harsh, but it is in fact a loving word. No parent who truly loves their child will let them do whatever they wish. The result would inevitably be disastrous. Loving discipline gives security and direction to children and gives them firm foundations for the whole of their lives.
Families take many shapes and these verses remind us that we need to do everything we can to support family life. The early years are absolutely crucial for the whole of life and each of us needs to invest in the lives of children in whatever way we can.
QUESTION: What opportunities do you have to support family life?
PRAYER: Loving Father, give us your strength and grace so that we will be able to have the right influence on the children in our lives, and support those who have the awesome responsibility of being parents. Amen.
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