Raising the next generation

While there is no such thing as the perfect family, it is possible to tackle dysfunction and emerge with something that is more healthy and beneficial

On a scale of one to 10 (with 10 being a perfect score), how confident are you about your style of parenting? Personally, I know that I am still a work-in-progress parent who is not raising children but responsible adults. By God’s grace, so far they have grown and are continuing to grow in wisdom, stature, and favour with God and man.

This life cannot offer anything better than the reward of building a healthy family legacy through our children, whether biological or adopted. If done well, parenting can be the most humbling and exhilarating experience that culminates when a child develops a noble character: self-discipline, Christian faith, responsibility, a servant heart, moral acumen and integrity. In short, a healthy soul.

Well, you could say you have achieved all this and more, but life is like a flower – it blossoms today and tomorrow it is withered and gone. That is how momentary life’s milestones are. The truth is just when we feel confident about our parenting skills and accomplishments, life happens and we run into bumpy roads while also missing turns here and there.

As parents instructed by Proverbs 22:6, which says: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it,” and motivated by Hebrews 12:1–3, our goal should be perseverance and endurance to finish this parenting race well, and have our children finish well too. There are no quick fixes to problems but it is important to discern if one is on the right path. Here are some pointers to give us confidence.

Learn to trust God more. This starts with relinquishing the notion that we own our children. Give them up to God, thus acknowledging His supremacy and sovereignty over all things, including parenting.

Change negative patterns to stop the slide from generation to generation. I believe there is no such thing as a perfect family; they are all characterised by some level of dysfunction. Children can be parented to be the ‘transitional generation’ that turns the corner from dysfunction to a more healthy family life. This means moving from negative patterns to positive ones and building grace-filled homes.

Take custody of your plan and purpose. Scripture provides the best blueprint for the plan and purpose of parenting and it is time families became intentional about this. Without a vision, people perish. That is why parents must have strategic plans and pause frequently to audit their progress.

Season your communication with doses of grace and love. This introduces an atmosphere of affection, warmth and encouragement, which can bring the desired results especially when it comes to discipline.

De-cluttering and replenishing our overcrowdedlives keeps us in check because it removes the fatigue that can cause us to be distracted, which in turn could lead to relational and parenting mistakes. Rest allows us to cease from the heightened pace of our demanding and unceasing activities.

Consistent discipline balanced with grace ensures that children have a reliable structure that encourages moral boundaries and assures feelings of love and security. Rebellion comes when there exists a set of rules without relationship.

Parental and biblical blessings bring security and honour to the home. Parents who did not receive parental blessings can still celebrate and bless their children in many ways, such as celebrating different milestones.

Finally, love covers a multitude of sins, thus raising children to love God teaches them to genuinely love others. This way, a legacy of faith and love can be passed on from generation to generation.

Family relationships can be a source of strength or a system of dysfunction. We can think about childhood by counting scars or recalling feelings of security. We could be creating in our own children either of these histories. How have you been settling the painful issues of your past? And in what ways are you contributing to a better past for your children?