Make your kids happy.

If there’s one thing parenting will do, it’s make you think long and hard on how you discipline and teach your children. The truth is, we should devote a lot of time (much more than I do!) to meditate on wisely raising our children, because ultimately parenting finds its source in God and he cares immensely about it. Consider with me what the Lord says to his people, his children:

“Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD, and whom you teach out of your law, to give him rest from days of trouble… For the LORD will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his hertiage” (Psalm 94:12-14).

The first thing that strikes me is that godly parenting is a reflection of what God is doing for us every day. He disciplines us and teaches us from his word, he protects us, and uses trials to shape us for eternity. So as we think about how we parent our children, it should imitate how God is daily raising us.

Notice also how discipline and teaching go hand in hand. God disciplines us with the trials he gives us and the situations he puts us in so that he can lay the seeds of his word in our hearts and they will stick. Deed and word, always together.

Finally, discipline and teaching are acts of covenant love—God’s whole-souled commitment to do us good—aimed at protecting and preserving us. If God didn’t discipline us, it would be an expression of forsakenness and abandonment. Failure to initiate and carry out this kind of covenantal discipline is abandonment that leads a child to destruction, the punishment of the wicked; it is a failure to safeguard him. We parent because he first parented (and parents) us.

Our happiness is tied up in his discipline, without which we would be miserable. So it is with our children: if we really want them to be happy, we’ve got to discipline them according to the word of the Lord, as he does for us.

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