Genesis 29:19 – Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.”
In Genesis 29, Laban shows us as parents how not to act when it comes to your adult children and, from this passage, we can learn seven parenting lessons.
First, when kids are little, you can control them; as they get older, you must coach them. Up through the time they start walking, get taller than you, and can drive away and leave home for themselves, it’s a little bit easier to control them. But, at some point, they’re going to leave home and, one day, you won’t even be here on earth to help or control them. So, it’s important that you teach them how to listen to the Holy Spirit and make decisions for themselves based on what God has for them, not always what you want for them.
Second, when you have little kids, they’re on your time schedule and they’re part of your world; as they get older, you have to get into their world and on their schedule. My wife Grace and I have two children who are married, two in college, and one in high school. For the kids that are married, we’ve told them and their spouses that they’re always welcome at our house but that, unless they invite us, we’ll never just show up at their house unannounced and uninvited. For family vacations, they’re always invited to come with us, but it’s never assumed. Grace and I have our family with the kids yet to be married and the newly married couples have their own family, schedule, and plan.
Third, you will not get the child you want; you must be the parent your child needs. Oftentimes, the children God blesses you with may not have your personality and are going to test you in ways you never knew possible. You can’t fit your child into a mold that you desire for them. Of course, there are certain rules and God’s laws that they should be required to follow, but some kids are going to be quiet and others are going to be loud and you must learn to parent each one differently according to their specific needs and personalities.
Fourth, if a kid wants more freedom, they must be more responsible. Though there are certain ages that should correspond to each of the six life stages mentioned in the last daily devo (baby, child, adolescent, young adult, adult, mature adult), your ability to move to the next stage depends largely on your maturity. In today’s world, a lot of people, especially guys, try to stay in the adolescent or young adult stage for far too long so their parents keep providing for them – as I call them, “Boys who can shave”.
Fifth, there’s a big difference between helping your children do good and enabling them to do bad. If you’re not actively loving, coaching, and blessing your children, your passivity towards them can equate to bad habits for your children. Kids are going to learn how to do life from somewhere, so as a parent, wouldn’t you rather they learn a godly way of living from you than from other kids who may or may not have been parented well?
Sixth, if you want them to repent to you, you have to repent to them. As parents, oftentimes the best way we can teach our kids lessons is to model behaviors for them. Parents will most definitely not always do things the right way towards and in front of their kids and it’ll be very helpful to teach your kids how to repent by repenting to them yourself if you mess up.
Finally, as you parent them, God is parenting you. I have heard it said, and experienced in my own life, that you recognize so much more about God as Father when you become a parent yourself. When we don’t know what to do as parents, or in any part of our lives, we should ask our Heavenly Father for help because He wants to parent and help us just as we want to parent and help our own kids.
Which of these lessons seems the most helpful either for your current or future kids?
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