Waynedale United Methodist Church
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Jan. 11, 2015 Sermon

 “Parenting 101”
Luke 2:39 – 52, Proverbs 22:6
Ted Jansen  January 11, 2015  Waynedale UMC
 

1.)        “For God so loved the world the He gave His one and only son…”  (John 3:16)  God loved us so much we was willing, in fact desiring, intentionally choosing, to give His Son, Jesus, to parents.  This is incredible!  God, gave Himself, to a human family.    

            God chose to have His one and only son land into the arms and hearts of a family.  A father, a mother, then brothers and sisters that came later. 

We do not know very much about Jesus’ life in the family other than what we can glean from scripture.  We understand that he grew and was like other boys. 

            I remember when I was in Israel, in the town of Bethlehem, observing boys playing soccer.  They appeared to be about 12 years old.  It struck me that I could have been watching Jesus.  Did Jesus play soccer with other boys?  Was Jesus ever late to supper because he was busy playing soccer?  It made me think about Jesus and his life.

 

2.)        Families are vital, parents are vital.  God trusted Himself, His essence, as God the Son to a family.  God allowed human hands, human hearts and human voices to shape Jesus’ life.  God allowed human parents to shape Jesus, and not the divine, perfect angels.  Human parents were God’s chosen instrument to guide His one and only Son.  Wow! 

            God trusted His Son to parents and God trusts each child that is precious to Him to a family, to parents.  May we as parents, grandparents and those who nurture and guide children understand this.  We have a responsibility and a challenge.   

 

3.)        Our tool today is a measuring tape.  A measuring tape is used to determine length, height, width.  We measure things we are building.  Have you heard the saying, “measure twice and cut once?”  We learn that by cutting twice, or three times!  

We measure our lives as parents and grandparents.  We measure children’s lives.

 

4.)        Proverbs 22:6 tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.” 

            The scripture teaches us that we need to set a course, a path for our children.  We need to give them guidance about that path and while on that path. 

I believe we also need to heed Luke 2:40, 52 when it speaks about the importance in Jesus’ younger life about growing in wisdom, grace, strength and good relationships.

These attributes and characteristics are what we measure in children.  As we think of parents and what we measure in children let me offer two statements. 

 

5.)        Parents shape and nurture based on their values, traditions and beliefs.

            Each of us were raised with parents or parent figures that had values, traditions and beliefs.  Each family is different in their approach of parenting.  When you get older and talk with others you realize some of the differences in your families.  When a couple has a child they need to come to a common agreement on the values, traditions and beliefs.  This takes work and constant communication.    

 

6.)        Let’s talk about an issue like watching TV.  What is its value that you have as it relates to your child?  What traditions were you brought up with?  What beliefs do you have about TV and its influence?  This is an area to reflect on and decide as you shape and nurture a child’s life.  What about the internet?    

            What about family vacations?  Some go on vacations regularly, some not very often, some don’t.  Some go to the same place, some go to different places.  These are decisions that shape and nurture a life based on values, traditions and beliefs.    

            What about worship attendance?  What are your values, traditions, and beliefs?  You are doing something today that will bless your child.  You are in a worship service.  You are giving a gift to your child, your grandchild and other children.  Your presence models your faith, and the importance of growing, and being with others in worship. 

According to an article on the “StickyFaith.org” website when youth have participated in intergenerational worship their faith as adults will be mature and strong. 

           
7.)        Parenting is a Team effort! 

*The beauty and strength of living life with a congregation, a team, a group of people, is that you have other parents, guides and helpers.  You are not alone. 

Our culture appears to value independence and because we are away from our parents, it might feel like we are supposed to parent alone.  We need a team to work together in the nurturing and guiding process of our children. 

It is our God given responsibility to nurture, guide our children but there are great teachers, coaches, neighbors, pastors, men and women who want the best for children.      

*Single parents need a team.  My heart goes out to single parents in their challenges.  Whatever we can do to get on a team with our single parents we need to.       

            Each parent has their own resources to love a child.  Let’s be a team.  

 

8.)        A young man, probably about 20, came to me, when I had a child.  He asked me with a sincere heart, “What do I need to do to be a good father?”  He was reaching out to me and wanted my help, at least some advice. 

This young man had used and might have been currently using drugs, smoked cigarettes, drank alcohol, stole from his parents, was out of control, hyper, was physically not clean, and not married.  He did have a job washing dishes but his life was not one that was moving in the direction of being a good father.  I told him that he needed to take care of himself first.  You offer your child only what you have yourself.  I wonder what happened to that young man, and his child and the girl who was pregnant.  Was he able to meet the needs that that child had?  What does it mean to be a good father, or mother?  

 

9.)        A good father or mother will do their best to meet the: Physical needs, Emotional needs, and Spiritual needs of children.  

*As we think about these three needs we need to determine the age and stage of the child.  Then we meet that need in a way the God would be pleased.    

            When babies are young we have to feed them, when they get older we give them a spoon, when they get a little older we show them how to cook, when they are older we teach them to get a job so that they earn money to buy the food to eat. 

            *We also need to teach the difference between needs and wants.  This is vital.  We live in a culture driven by “wants,” yet the needs we have are relatively few.  A child needs a warm coat in winter, though they might want one with a certain name or label.    

Physically children need food, shelter and clothes. They don’t need food with lots of sugar, a big home or expensive clothes.  We have to discern how to meet the needs. 

Emotionally children need love, discipline, encouragement, friendship, confidence, and consistency.  They don’t need conditional love or abuse.  They don’t need parents to be “friends” but to be firm and guiding as a parent.  Friendship might come in later years with your children but it is not a need when they are younger. 

Spiritually children need God and to see God in your life.  They don’t need rules, regulations and judgment all tied in to God.  They need an authentic witness of faith and a relationship with you as you grow in your faith.  

             

10.)      Are parents focused on measuring a child’s: ability, activity, achievement?  Are parents measuring the soul, the heart, the spirit of a child?    

            Did Jesus, as a child, have all the education, possessions, and privileges while on earth?  No, yet Jesus learned to trust his parents, listen and be obedient to them.  This shaped His heart so that He could trust, listen and obey his Heavenly Father.   

 

11.)      Stephen Covey wrote a book called, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families,” in 1998.  He wrote if “go with the flow” of our culture it will be family-fatal.  Though this book is 17 years old it still speaks about the cultural influences on your family. 

            Another book, called, “20 Surprisingly Simple Rules and Tools for a Great Family,” by Dr. Steve Stephens, offers some practical things you can do today in your parenting.  Here are some things that you can do to become an effective family and strengthen your parenting.  Circle three of these that speak to you.      

            Plan ahead, Admit your mistakes, Find your golden moments, Encourage them, Have fun, Get to know each other, Motivate work, Discipline fairly, Provide a great example, Tell them you love them, Choose your battles, Make your marriage great, More books and less TV, Escape together, Cool down, Manage your stress, Fight kindly, Pray for them, Create traditions, Let go. 

 

12.)      When Erica was born I saw this precious child, this miracle, and was in awe of God.  It was a holy time.  (When Kevin and Lydia were born it was a similar feeling!) I remember looking at the world in 1989 and was depressed at the contrast.  This child, this baby, was a miracle.  This world was messed up; there were problems and people not doing good things.  What have I done to bring a child into this world, filled with problems?  I was a little depressed.     

            I realized I needed to love and nurture this child, and all children, and show them the God who created them, who loves them and wants to be in relationship with them.  I was to love them with God’s love while living in a world that is messed up, yet somehow helping this world be a better place for children and all people. 

            I needed to have family, friends, and other adults love, guide, mentor, teach, coach and lead my children.  I needed good support and encouragement as a parent.  I still do as a parent. 

 

13.)      Children of all ages will fulfill you in a special way and they will break your heart in a way that you cannot fully explain.  You will lose sleep when they are babies and you wonder if they are breathing ok, and you will lose sleep when they are in their 20’s and still out late at night.   

            Though 25 ½ years have passed since I became a parent God has shaped me to love children and bless them.  

 
Closing Prayer            

I want to offer a prayer for parents, for grandparents and those who care for children.   I want you to stand.   I also want people to stand who have needs for extra prayer for the challenges in your family or you know of challenges in some family.