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GUIDING CHILDREN

TEN THINGS I WANT MY DESCENDANTS TO KNOW
Rearing sons can be a humbling experience. Teenagers and their parents endure some difficult times. As parents, Laurel and I have much more patience and understanding of those who are in the childrearing years. Some children appear to be more difficult to rear than others. Some parents appear to be more skilled at guiding their children than others. Here are 10 guiding principles I want my sons and grandsons to have. As a father and grandfather, I feel responsible for teaching these. descendants

1.  God is most important in their lives (Matthew 6:33). A faith-centered life will bring happiness to them. God, the church, righteous living and a balanced life of service to God and others will delight them and their whole family in youth as well as old age.

2.  Family is important. Family activities strengthen the confidence of my sons. I want them to know that I love their mother and my life's goal is to be by her side supporting her all of our lives. Marriage is for life and is a constant learning and growing relationship. I want my sons also to know that I love my parents and my wife's parents and that I express my love to them just as I express that love to my sons and daughters. God was good when He created families.

3.  Integrity is essential. "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches" (Proverbs 22:1 kjv). Keeping one's word and maintaining respect for truth are traits I want my sons to continue to develop. I want them to keep their promises even if it hurts. "Under-promise and over-deliver" is a principle I want them to know. When I have over-promised, the pain in carrying out those promises helped me to remember not to get into that position again. Children have a terrific memory and a clear vision while watching their parents.

4.  A good work ethic will serve them well. Paul wrote, "If any would not work, neither should he eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10). It seems the happiest men I know love to work. They know how to balance their lives between work, family, God and play and to benefit the most from each. I have told my sons to do all that is required of them - and then some! What you do on the job is a reflection of your character.

5.  Education is a key to a successful future. The price for a good education is costly in time, effort and money. The prepared person is in the best position for opportunities. A Christian education, Laurel and I believe, is even more important because it addresses the spiritual nature of man. Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, and in God's and man's favor (Luke 2:52). We expected our sons to prepare themselves well enough to support their families and themselves.

6.  Keep a positive attitude. It is easy to become discouraged, negative and cynical. The development of a sense of humor with a balanced way of seeing things has helped our sons to be positive in their nature. Seeing the big picture as God sees things helps to refocus on the bright side. Reading the Bible, especially the Psalms and Proverbs, has helped me to show them the way. Be attracted to positive people, and avoid negative, cynical people.

7.  Learn how to manage money. As a family, we have tried to model our priorities in how we use our funds. We've been open with them in how we spend these resources. Scott and Shannon have heard me suggest on many occasions that they should give 10 percent to God, put 10 percent into savings, and then they can "blow" the rest - on other necessities of life. They have been advised that spending within their means is a result of living with their means. Avoid unnecessary debt, especially credit card debt.

8.  Pay attent


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