Thursday, 17 October 2013

Supportive parenting {encouraging our children}

I have wanted to share a couple of things with you, since earlier in the week, but life has been a bit busy, so here I am finally getting it to you.  It started out as one thought, but as I have pondered it more, I think that there are TWO important truths that I want to share, each warranting its own post.

As I have mentioned before, when I read God's Word, I ask the Lord to show me how it relates to my life and circumstances.  In that sense, God may apply His Word differently at different times and seasons, and to different people. Sometimes He shows us something in a new light, that we have never seen before.  I think this is one reason why being in God's Word, as often as we can, is so important.  Even reading a few verses every day can be a source of encouragement and blessing.

I was continuing my reading through I Chronicles, and had come to the end of that book. It is the passage where David is fully handing over the reins, of building the temple, to Solomon.  He is seeking to encourage him in the work that needs to be done.  It was a big work - a great work - a God-glorifying work. David had done as much preparation as he could, but if you remember, he was not allowed to actually build it, due to his life of war and battle. Instead, his son, Solomon, had been given the awesome task of building a house for God.

"And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. 
Take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it." 
1Chronicles 28:9&10 

I was particularly struck, when thinking through what David says to Solomon, about how much of a supportive parent he was being. David had desired to do something great, but God had said "no".  Instead, God had chosen his son to do it. He wasn't bitter, or angry, or resentful.  No.  He was quite the opposite.  He did everything in his power to help, support and assist his son in the building of the temple. He pulled together the resources and the workmen to get the job done.  He gathered the materials for the job. More importantly, he encouraged him spiritually.

Oh, how important this is!! How it struck my heart! There was NOTHING more important that he could do, than encourage his son, on a spiritual level, as he faced this mammoth task.  He wanted to make sure that Solomon was relying on God, and not in his own strength.

It got me thinking about my own parenting.  It got me thinking about how much easier I seem to find it to see the things my children are getting wrong, and forget to encourage them and build them up, in areas they are struggling to be strong.

 I need to remember, first and foremost, to keep pointing them to the Lord.  Above and beyond anything else, that I remind them to search their hearts and see if they are trusting in God,  for their salvation.  If they have not got a heart that belongs to God, they will struggle with a lot of life.  There can be no greater thing we can do as mothers, than point our children to Christ, and tell them of their need of salvation. Not in a "banging on" kind of way, but in the way where our lives first reflect Christ, and our words then point them to Him, in a loving and passionate way.  In a way where they can see the love and compassion that is behind the imploring, and not anger and judgement.

Then, I need to be an encourager.  When our children have got something they need to do, encouraging them is a far greater motivation to get it done, than being negative and angry.  Often, I think children struggle with tasks because they think they can't do it. It's my job, as a parent, to help them to see that they CAN do it! I remind them fairly regularly, that I don't ask them to do something, that I know they could not accomplish. That would be plain MEAN! However, it sometimes takes gentle, and inventive, persuasion to show them that they can do what I have asked them to do.  It may not be easy.  It may not be simple.  But, they can do it if they try. I may need to demonstrate a technique to them first.  I may need to help them start the job, to get it going.  I may need to simply remind them that they are able to achieve it, if they keep their mind and heart in the right place. (Don't we all need THAT reminder?.....)

"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:"
Hebrews 10:24

I also got thinking ahead to the future. When our children grow up, they may end up having a life that is not the same as ours. The Lord may lead them on a path that is different to the one we were led along, but it's not wrong, just because it's different. It's STILL our job to encourage them, every step of the way.  So long as they are not walking in sin, then they still need our encouragement. There is nothing so soul destroying as a parent who cannot take a step back from their own choices, and see that the choices of another are equally valid, and when they then don't support their children in the choices they have made. I have seen it happening.  I have seen parents being so dogmatic, or legalistic, about their convictions, that they cannot see ANY other point of view.  Their children get left hanging, with negative remarks being thrown in, and hearts saddened. The thing is, we are ALL in danger of becoming a parent like that, if we forget that convictions are personal, and we need to let others make their own choices about things in life, that are not primary and fundamental. (The same thing can happen in friendships, but I think the family side of things is even more important).

Our children WILL grow up.  Solomon grew up.  God chose him to be king, after David, and to do a job which David would dearly have loved to have done himself. But, he was not bitter. He wanted to be an encourager, as Solomon faced the task ahead of him.

Oh, how I need to be more careful to be an encouraging parent. Not to be focussed upon my anger or irritation, when a child is struggling with a big job.  Rather, that I should try and be understanding and encouraging, when they face a task that seems to be overwhelming. It could be something as simple as laying the table the right way, or getting their maths completed. (Uh-huh.....conviction) Gentle, loving, patient and encouraging.  That's what I need to be.

When the time comes that they grow up, and start making their own choices, my encouragement needs to carry on.

In ALL of this, so long as they are doing something that is good and right, and without sin, then encouraging is what WE need to be.

May the Lord help you today, in whatever way your life unfolds, to be an encourager, ESPECIALLY to your children. 


  1. Caroline, that post is SO relevant to me this very day. I had a ... let's say I had a *conversation* (though it may have been a rather heated discussion :p ) with a certain son of mine yesterday. But the result of it really was that overnight, and this morning, I spent a lot of time thinking that I have a tendency to speak to our kids of their faults, and not enough of their (many) good points. It's hard to find the balance ... needing to correct, but doing it without discouraging.

    Good reminder here... thanks
    A x

  2. I needed this and the reminder about the text from Hebrews. As a perfectionist, it can be so easy not to be encouraging but this can just be dispiriting for the children particularly if they are working really hard at something which, for them, is difficult.