10 Lessons for Parents to Teach Their Children from John MacArthur
Being a parent is often a mix of faith and hope. You want to believe you are doing the right thing in teaching and raising your kids but only time will tell. And when the time comes to see the results of your efforts, it will be too late to go back and redo things. So, parenting often feels like living in perpetual uncertainty and perpetual hope.
Knowing parenting can feel like this, I routinely look for resources to help me do a better job. I’m not really into the fluffy “be your kids best friend” stuff that comes from modern psychology and pop culture. I’m looking for biblically based advice that shares practical tips on how I can do a better job raising my kids.
I recently came across an article sharing the “Ten Crucial Lessons Every Father Should Teach,” from John MacArthur’s book Brave Dad. This list is not only biblically based it’s practical. Furthermore, it’s counter-cultural.
Look, the bottom line is that we live in a society that is upside down. The things that are valued in our culture go against the biblical values that we want to teach. And, in order to combat that anti-biblical teaching our kids are bombarded with in culture we must be diligent in teaching them, clearly, what the Bible says. It won’t happen by accident. And while we should expect our church to reinforce what we are teaching our kids at home, we should not expect our church to be the primary biblical teacher of our kids.
Look at how practical, and counter-cultural, these lessons we need to be teaching our kids are:
Lesson 1: Teach your children to fear God (Prov. 1:7). The world says we should have “no fear.” But the Bible says that the very beginning of any kind of wisdom is to first fear God. Without a proper understanding of who God is, and who man is, and why we should have a healthy, proper fear for God, there is little chance that we will have true wisdom.
Lesson 2: Teach your children to guard their minds (Prov. 3:3-4). Our culture is constantly telling us to “free your mind.” We are told that by freeing our minds we can achieve enlightenment, and a better state of existence. But the Bible warns us that favor and good success in the sight of God and man begins with a carefully guarded mind.
Some of the other lessons in this book include:
Lesson 3: Teach your children to obey their parents.
Lesson 4: Teach Your Children to Select Their Companions Carefully (Prov. 1:10; 1 Cor. 15:33).
Lesson 5: Teach Your Children to Control Their Body (Prov. 2:16-17). This is a particularly important lesson that must be taught. Our society says that a person’s body belongs entirely to himself or herself. But the Bible tells us that, as Christians, our body is “not our own” and that we have been “bought with a price.” We do not, as some might assert, have the right to do whatever we want and then claim “my body, my choice.” The body we live in is the property of God, the Creator, and must be respected as such. The many impulses we feel in our body can result in addiction, violence, harm, and evil, if we do not learn to control our body.
Other lessons are just as practical and important:
Lesson 6: Teach Your Children to Enjoy Their Spouse (Prov. 5:15-19).
Lesson 7: Teach Your Children to Watch Their Words (Prov. 4:24).
Lesson 8: Teach Your Children to Work Hard (Prov. 6:6-8).
Lesson 9: Teach Your Children to Manage Their Money Well (Prov. 3:9-10). This is a fleeting skill that needs reclaimed. Far too many people today are not good managers (stewards) of their money and the things God has given them. Debt is an epidemic in our culture that is getting worse. People regularly spend more than they make. And the ability to create and lie by a budget is becoming a lost art. Christians must set themselves apart by not falling into the financial traps that exist and by not making the poor financial choices others make. We must live within our means, budget wisely, be generous, and be good stewards of all God has given.
Lesson 10: Teach Your Children to Love Their Neighbor (Prov. 3:27-28). This might be one of the most important lessons. We need to reclaim a biblical understanding of loving our neighbor. Regardless of who our neighbor is, we have a Scriptural mandate to love our neighbor. Presently, our society tells us that it’s okay to love some people and hate others. This is especially true if that person disagrees with your political view, social view, view on marriage, or your view of gender and sexuality. But the Bible makes no distinctions in its command for us to love our neighbor. At a time in history when people are divided along many social and political lines, Christians can set an example by seeking to unite people by loving them. This doesn’t mean we accept or condone sin. Neither does it mean we create walls in light of sin. All people deserve respect and love by those claiming to be forgiven for their sins.
You don’t need a book to tell you how crucial these lessons are for your kids. These are that will help shape your kids in every aspect of life; from how they think and work to how they think about God and people. In other words, these lessons will help shape their worldview. And since our worldview permeates every aspect of how we live life each day, the importance of these lessons and developing a biblical worldview can’t be overstated.
How will you help form a biblical worldview in your children today?
Is there any lesson missing from this list that you think is equally important?