PARENTING FROM THE TREE OF LIFE
Part One: The first six lessons of the Life Series considers the relational components associated with healthy families and healthy parenting. Parents, by intent or by neglect, for better or worse, are still the greatest influence when it comes to shaping a child’s life. Unless parents voluntarily give it up, or choose to surrender portions of their influence, nothing is more persuasive and long-lasting as the impressions gained or lost within the context of the home. This is because children tend to reflect the priorities and values of their home life. What is important to Mom and Dad will become important to their children, and will influence what each child becomes in the future.
The self-evident truth that early family life lays the foundation for later adjustments exists above all other assumptions. While there are a variety of influences on children that parents cannot change (nature, heredity, temperament, and predispositions), the quality of Mom and Dad’s relational influences will impact their children for a lifetime.
Part Two: In this second section, we turn our attention to the moral education of children. Our goal is to help parents connect the dots between God’s message of love and good will toward man and character development. Visits Seven through Twelve develop and explains the guiding principles for raising children who are kind, courteous, respectful, cooperative, confident, and certainly well mannered. Here, we are speaking of a child whose inner person abides with all that is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good character, excellence and those things that are worthy of praise (c.f. Philippians 4:8). No child arrives at this level of moral distinctiveness if the home life from which he or she comes is not already conversant with such virtue. There are more than one-hundred courtesy protocols that should be part of every child’s life moral warehouse.
Part Three: The final segment considers the correction side of training. However, correction is not all about fixing undesirable or wayward behavior. Parents must pay attention to the preventative components of training that reduce the amount of correction needed in the first place. Proactively encouraging behaviors that help children stay on track is indeed a wiser and more effective strategy than simply reacting in a moment of crisis, when trying to fix an unwelcomed behavior. Whatever correction looks like in your home, it should be thoughtful, purposeful, and timely. Part Three of the Life Series is filled with suggestions that can help parents achieve all three.