© 1999 James A. Fowler

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I. Representative Scripture references about "parenting"

    Deut. 21:18-21 - "stubborn and rebellious sons...should be stoned to death"
    Ps. 127:1-5 - "children are a gift of the Lord..."
    Prov. 10:1 - "a wise son makes a father glad; a foolish son is a grief to his mother"
    Prov. 13:18 - "poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline"
    Prov. 15:5 - "a fool rejects his father's discipline"
    Prov. 17:6 - "the glory of sons is their fathers"
    Prov. 19:18 - "discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death"
    Prov. 22:6 - "train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from          it."
    Prov. 22:15 - "foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it
            far from him"
    Prov. 23:13,14 - "do not hold back discipline from the child. Although you smite him with the
           rod, he will not die..."
    Prov. 29:15 - "the rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame
          to his mother"
    Eph. 6:4 - "fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and          instruction of the Lord."
    Col. 3:21 - "fathers, do not exasperate your children, that they may not lose heart"
    I Tim. 3:4 - "an elder must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children          under control with all dignity"
    Titus 1:6 - "elders...having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion"
    Heb. 12:5-11 - "what son is there that the father does not discipline?"

II. Re-examining Proverbs 22:6

    A. Traditional interpretations
         1. "Train up..." - training techniques
         2. Alternative explanation: "Dedicate..."
         3. "the way he should go" - child's particular "bent"
         4. "will not depart from it" - never rebel, defect
    B. Original Hebrew words
         1. hanak - inaugurate, initiate, begin, start off
         2. peh - mouth, opening, entrance
         3. derek - road, way, journey, course
         4. zagen - to have a beard, grows up
         5. sur - depart, turn aside, be deprived, lack
    C. "Start off a child in the opening of the course of life, and when he grows up he will not lack          direction."

III. What a parent can and cannot do for a child.

    A. A parent cannot...
         1. spiritually convert, regenerate, or save a child.
         2. sanctify a child; make them holy or righteous
         3. make a Christian disciple out of a child
         4. dictate, determine or develop the personality of a child
    B. A parent can...
         1. start them off on the course of life with direction
         2. allow the grace of God to function in them as parents. Jn. 15:5; II Cor. 3:5; 12:9
         3. allow the grace-dynamic of God to function in the children

IV. What children are and are not.

    A. Children are not...
         1. merely progeny, to carry on the family name
         2. possessions - they belong to God.
         3. projects - to accomplish before God.
         4. extensions of the parents - projected expectations
         5. trophies or status symbols to build parents reputation
         6. pawns, peons, or petty servants to do the parents whims
    B. Children are...
         1. gift of the Lord - Ps. 127:3
         2. a priority responsibility of parents
         3. opportunity for personal development in parents
              a. unselfishness - I Tim. 2;15
              b. deference - Eph. 5:21
              c. love - Titus 2:4

V. What a child needs and does not need.

    A. A child does not need...
         1. a parent that tries to "play God"
         2. an authoritative law-enforcement officer as parent
         3. everything given to him
         4. to be over-protected or smothered
         5. to be given absolute freedom - permissiveness
         6. to be allowed to control the family
    B. A child needs...
         1. a parental care-giver
              a. to love, nurture and give direction
              b. to meet personal development needs
         2. a relational parent - who relates personally and individually
              a. appreciates their feelings
              b. accepts their individuality and differences
              c. allows them to think and feel
         3. an exemplary parent - models consistency and honesty
         4. an encouraging parent - supportive, "on their team"
         5. a loving parent
         6. a forgiving parent

VI. A Christocentric approach to parenting.

    A. Misemphasis of "focusing on the family."
         1. Popular approaches to family and parenting
         2. Procedures, techniques, precepts, principles
         3. "Works" orientation to parenting
    B. Emphasis of focusing on Jesus - Heb. 12:2 - "fixing our eyes on Jesus"
         1. Allowing Jesus to function in the family
         2. Allowing life of Jesus to be lived out in the parent
         3. Freedom and liberty in Christian parenting
              a. Don't have to be so uptight about doing it right.
              b. Lighten up; relax; enjoy your children
         4. Parenting with the "mind of Christ" - I Cor. 2:16
              a. "listen under" God in obedience
              b. trust that what comes to mind is right
              c. "Right" is the character of God expressed in you; not particular procedures and                   techniques of parenting.
         5. Look back and say, "To God be the glory, great things He has done"



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