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  Children's Ministry Today    

Today's Featured Article

Three Things Children Need From Parents
                  Ray & Anne Ortland


Three things that children need from their parents are clearly spelled out in 1 Corinthians 13:13. The first is faith. Faith in Jesus Christ gives them the se­curity of knowing that they are accepted "in the Beloved One," that God loves them unconditionally, and that they have eternal salvation through Christ.

Second, your children need hope for their own personal lives. You, their parents, need to say to them, "You're going to grow in Christ more and more. We look forward to the person in the Lord you are going to be." 

We read in Proverbs 4:18 (KJV) that "the path of the just is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Children need to learn that glory is coming, that their struggles aren't forever. They are going toward perfect Christlikeness. Build hope into your children! God calls it "the blessed hope" hope for their eternal future, hope that will purify their lives.

Third, your children need unconditional Love, the same kind of love God has for you. They need to hear you say, "We have loved you; we do love you; we will always love you" and to know without a doubt nothing will ever change that commitment of love.

And at every stage, affirmations are essential. All the way up to and including adulthood, over and over again, your children need to be affirmed. They need to know that you admire them. The naughtier they are, the more they need to know that your overall feelings for them are still positive.

That's how your Heavenly Parent treats you! He looks at you through Christ­colored glasses! He says, "I have provided My Son for your righteousness, and I see you as perfect in Him." Then you have the courage to grow up to what He says you already are!

And also, all along the way, your children need to know where they stand, what the rules for behavior are. There are times to stand up to them and say a big no "We love you too much to let you get by with this. You can't do it." At times, you must risk everything by saying, "You may dislike us for the rest of your life, if you wish, but you can't do it." That kind of "tough love" may actually give a great deal of security to your kids.

Of course, discipline is different at different stages. When your child is two, give primitive, easy-to-understand directions: "You may not run out into the street." Your eighteen-year-old sometimes needs to hear your voice just as clearly: "You may not sit in that parked car with your girlfriend." Discipline only ceases when responsibility ceases.

Parents must be far more than just their children's buddies. Sometimes they can't even be considered friends. A nine-year-old boy feels the need for the "group," and his mom and dad can't get into that club. They shouldn’t even try. In a sense, he hangs out a sign that says, "No parents allowed." That's a good sign. It shows that the boy has other relationships that fulfill other needs. He is learning what it is to be a social animal. This may include getting a bloody nose. So be it. You can't forever cushion him from the hard blows of life.

At other times, your young ones may get bloody noses, or have other traumatic experiences, because of disobedience or poor judgment. They have to learn that improper behavior has consequences, and you must not shelter them from the pain of those consequences.

When one of our sons was about seven, he stole a toy from our neighborhood store. Ray saw it bulging out of his pocket and asked, "What's that?" Then Ray walked him back into the store to confess what he'd done and return it.

Now Ray felt that the clerk was overly tough on the little guy, but it was important that he not interfere. Ray could have said, "Wait a minute! He's just a little boy"-but he didn't. He let it happen. And to our knowledge, our son never stole again.

Finally, you can't do anything greater for your children than to bring them to God and leave them there! As earthly parents we're all fallible. But God's love, patience, and wisdom are unlimited. Ultimately, your children's destinies are in His hands. And there is no better place.

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