Biblical and Practical Thoughts on Parenting, Part Four: That’s the Way the Ball Bounces – Tips for Managing the Home Front
I’m going through a series sharing biblical and practical thoughts on parenting. The last few posts have provided simple outlines, guided by Scripture, that demonstrated how we should look at roles and intentions for a biblical family.
Today, I want to look at ten principles for managing things on the home front. With each principle I have included a “game plan” to help think through specific details.
1. Involvement. Watching others helps, but you have to get in the game yourself!
Game plan: Cut the speeches. Get everyone involved in the “real stuff” of family life as quickly as possible! Children will learn more from life than lecture. James 1:22-25: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
2. Plan. A time-tested strategy is essential; it gives you confidence.
Game plan: Any plan is better than no plan; it gives others the sense you are not aimlessly flailing. If you plan for nothing, nothing is what you will probably achieve. Prov. 14:1: “The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.” Luke 14:28-32: “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, this man began to build and was not able to finish. Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with then thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.
3. Flexibility. The plan is an outline—not the infallible Word. Plans are made to be tinkered with. It is those who dare to be different (under God), and listen to one another, who make it to the Family Hall of Fame.
Game plan: Blind devotion to any plan is foolish; actually it is downright dumb. Follow a plan but do not allow it to enslave you. Prov. 11:14: “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” Prov. 12:14; “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”
4. Trial and Error. In family life, business life, real life, and any life, error is a reality. Do not allow errors to discourage you, allow them to develop you.
Game plan: Don’t “tolerate” mistakes. Embrace them! Learn from them.
Prov. 13:16: “In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.”
5. The Same Mistakes. We will make the same mistakes, especially in family!
Game plan: Few get it right the first, or the 100th time. Show patience. Extend grace. Prov. 11:29: “Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.”
6. A Sense of Humor. Experimentation—the core of life and family—depends on learning to laugh at yourself and with one another.
Game plan: Learning sometimes will result in your making yourself look silly—occasionally even in public. Accept it, laugh and move on! Prov. 15:13: “A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.” Prov. 17:22: “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
7. Perseverance. The ability to laugh at yourself and keep your ego in check is imperative—but so is dogged determination. Determine to do things right (right way, right time).
Game plan: Winners want to do everything well, no matter how trivial; and that takes focus and unrelenting drive. Rom. 5:3-4: “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”
8. Maturity. Strive to be like Jesus.
Game plan: Cultivate Christlikeness where it is hardest: in your family and marriage. 1 Cor. 11:1: “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
9. Responsibility. Don’t pass the buck when you fail. An absolutely necessary component of maturity is a willingness to take responsibility for your attitudes and actions.
Game plan: You are responsible for you. Avoid the blame game. You will always end up a loser. 2 Sam. 12:12-13: “For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun. David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said to David, The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.” Ps. 51:3-4: “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.”
10. Accountability. You are not an island unto yourself. You are part of a family. They depend on you. You, in turn, must depend on them.
Game plan: Together you are stronger than any one family member is alone. Gal. 6:2: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Hopefully these will be helpful as you navigate family life. Feel free to interact and share any additional thoughts in the comments. Next, we’ll look at getting to know God with your children.