Ephesians 6:1 - 4
ESV - 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise).
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First and foremost, Jesus needs to be the center of your home, and your children need to be able to see Him clearly. And by this I don't mean simply following religious rules and regulations, because that isn't what living for Jesus is really all about. Your children need to see that you LOVE Jesus and daily invest in your relationship with Him, putting Him first in all you do as you express love for Him and practice obedience to Him. (John 14:23) Children are like mirrors in many ways: Although we know some personality traits and thought patterns are "wired" by DNA, children are largely shaped by what they see happening around them, how they interpret their world, and how they are taught to respond to their surroundings. In other words, they are a reflection of what they see, how they interpret what they see, and the ways other people--especially adults--relate to them. When they're young, children look mainly to their own parents and other family members for their cues about how to act and what they should be doing with their time (Pr. 31, 1 Cor. 1:11). This is both good and bad news: Good news: You are granted valuable opportunities every day to model behaviors and spiritual disciplines for your children you want them to imitate, such as prayer, time in God's Word, singing worship songs, attending church, and choosing to honor Jesus with your words, actions and attitudes. Young children tend to be particularly malleable, and will want to do the things they see you doing. (Pr. 22:6) Bad news: When presented with these daily opportunities, there is an enormous responsibility on your shoulders to make the right choices, and this isn't always easy. As children grow in their ability to reason, they more readily notice the failures and inconsistencies they see in adults, and this can cause disillusionment when it comes to what we tell them about Jesus and the Christian walk. In addition to modeling right behavior to children, it's important that they understand biblical principles from a young age, as well as how to apply them to their lives (Deut. 6:8). I recommend reading the Bible to your children regularly, starting with Bible stories specifically written for children, and then moving on to "meatier" things as they grow older. I also recommend looking for those opportunities that arise regularly to walk out biblical principles with your children, such as experessing love to others who are unkind to you, being a good forgiver, and learning to share and give generously. More than anything, children need to see and sense genuine, unconditional love that reflects the character of Jesus as you relate to them. This doesn't mean you never discpline them or can never be stern with them--after all, the Bible is clear that God disciplines us, and He does this out of love for us (Heb. 12:6). However, be careful of your demeanor and disposition as you discipline (Eph. 6:4); discipline should never be too harsh, and should always be done with love and the intent of restoring the child to right behavior.
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