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Underlying PrinciplesSquare One     << Ch. 1 >>

Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O LORD, And whom You teach out of Your law.
- Psalms 94:12

Four Trouble Spots
I know your urge is to skip right to the "how to" section of this book, but please pause here for a few minutes first�I'll try to keep it short�and take time to ponder a few of the problems I run into over and over again as I speak to parents about their families. Failures in parenting today can frequently be traced to the following four underlying areas: (1) what your priorities are, (2) what your beliefs in regard to authority are, (3) how willing you are to separate your children from the world, and (4) your willingness to reject worldly parenting theories and adopt biblical principles and godly standards instead.

Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.
- Colossians 3:20

Your Priorities as a Parent
I recently read about a woman who, after trying unsuccessfully to conceive for some years, adopted several small children. She had longed for children and dreamed of being a wonderful mother and enjoying parenthood. With these adoptions, she entered with excited anticipation down this bright path. Years later, after her children were grown, she confessed to an acquaintance that she had not enjoyed her journey at all. In fact she had come to hate motherhood and was relieved when it was finally over. How sad. I really wonder what this poor lady's imaginary picture of motherhood had been when she first brought these children home. In all likelihood, she pictured in her mind's eye all the fun things that little girls imagine when they are playing with their dolls and more: cooing infants who love to be rocked to sleep, cute toddlers who enjoy playing peacefully for hours with blocks and toy trains, grade school children who are always eager to learn and never bicker, helpful teens who look forward to sharing confidences with Mom and Dad, and finally young adults who are mature and trustworthy and prepared to start families of their own. 

Now I personally, don't believe this picture is completely unrealistic. I have experienced all these things with my own children. However, it is only a partial picture. If you think that life will be like this all day everyday with minimal effort on your part, think again. It won't be. It is far more realistic to think that if you work very diligently at it, putting the training and nurturing of your children first all day every day, then the things in this fantasy will become reality, with greater and greater frequency, as your children grow older and older. You cannot enjoy the pleasures of a close, loving relationship with godly, well-behaved children, if you are not willing to make parenting them your top priority. You must view it as your FULL TIME JOB. If you make it so, you will experience these rewards far sooner and in greater quantity that you could have ever dreamed.

"And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
- Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Your View of Authority
If you don't believe that you have God given authority to rule over your children for their good, you may as well close this book right now. Nothing in it will work, and then you'll blame me! No thanks, I'd rather you didn't read it at all. I don't care what your teachers in school told you, or what you learned from the hospital sponsored parenting classes you took, but the Bible teaches that an understanding of authority is an essential part of parenting, and indeed an essential key to faith itself. The scriptures tell us that it was for this very purpose that Abraham was chosen to be the father of God's favorite people. It says in Genesis 18:19, "For I have chosen him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice; in order that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.� This is what we should be doing as we parent our children. This is a large part of what God considers good parenting.

Another of my favorite Biblical passages about authority is the story in Matthew 8:5-13, of the Roman centurion, who came to Jesus asking him for the restored health of his desperately ill servant. When Jesus offered to go to his home to do the healing, the centurion refused. He explained to Jesus that it was unnecessary. He knew that Jesus had authority even over sickness, and since he understood authority, he knew that Jesus had only to speak the word, and his servant would be healed. Jesus marveled at this man's faith. Because this centurion understood authority, his servant was healed immediately and he himself was held up as an example of extraordinary faith to all Christians henceforth. Isn't that the kind of faith we would all someday like to see in our children?

Throughout the Old and New Testaments are stories of faith mixed with obedience, one working together closely with the other. As our Lord loves us and teaches us, He continually gives us commands and expects us to obey them. These are all very clear examples to us of how we are supposed to love and command our own children. In following our Lord's example we are not only painting a picture for our children, of what their relationship with God can be like someday, we are also instilling in them the type of faith that Jesus praised in this Roman centurion. Embrace the authority God has given you over your children, combine it with love and diligence, and use it for their good, to train them in the ways of Lord and lead them into eternal fellowship with Him.

"But the centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I, too, am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, 'Go!' and he goes, and to another, 'Come!' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this!' and he does {it} " Now when Jesus heard {this,} He marveled, and said to those who were following, "Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.
- Matthew 8:8-10

Your Commitment to Godly Separation
You can do everything I recommend in this book and still lose your children to the world. How? By not separating them from wrong influences, at least until they are very mature in their training and faith (and I believe this maturity comes far more slowly than most parents assume). Jesus told us very clearly in Matthew 6:24, that "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other..." (NAS) When you allow your children to be exposed to questionable outside influences, you are only pushing them into the arms of a second master, and considering the many exciting temptations the world has to offer, it is unlikely that their loyalty will remain with you. If you don't separate your children from the world, they will reject you and choose the ways of the world, to your own sorrow and shame. 

Removing the TV and choosing to homeschool are two of the most obvious and effective solutions to the problem of wrong influences, but beyond those, one of the most enjoyable and simple things you can do to produce godly, loving children, is to keep them doing more things with you and fewer things with other children outside of your family. If you keep them with you and teach them all you know about godliness, AND you keep them away from wrong influences when they are young, you will scarcely have to worry about anything else. You will eliminate a myriad of problems that result from allowing or encouraging your children to frequently socialize with other children. 

If anyone doubts how much good this can do, just read carefully the many desperate stories of Christian mothers whose children are straying, and pay strict attention to how much the matter of "outside influences" factored into the problems they are having. If you are honest in your assessment, you will find that a vast number of these problems are the direct result of the influence of "friends" outside the family. This is where your children will learn values other than yours. This is where your children will pick up attitudes that are anti-family and anti-authority. This is where your children will be exposed to many things you never wanted them to be have anything to do with. This is where they will lose their loyalty toward you and God and turn their loyalty toward the world. If you want to raise your children to choose the Lord as their God, you must reject the world's unrelenting chant that your children "need" to socialize outside your home. Instead, you must believe the Lord when He says, "Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate."

"Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate," says the Lord. "And do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me," says the Lord Almighty.
- II Corinthians 6:17-18

Rejecting the Deception of Psychology-based Parenting
Virtually every parenting book published in recent years was written by a psychologist. Not experienced parents or grandparents, but those who have been trained to treat mental illness via theories of secular humanism. That truly frightens me, especially when I see that it applies to Christian parenting books as well as secular ones. And it's not just parenting books, but these worldly principles and philosophies have permeated almost every social aspect of our society. The resulting mindset masquerades as truth when it isn't. It calls itself "scientific fact" when it is only godless theory upon godless theory. Sure, it tickles your ear, but is it right and does it work?

In case you are unclear about this, the field of psychology, as it is universally taught today, does not have its basis in Christian principles but in vain worldly philosophies. At first these humanistic theories were only taught to those who planned to major in the field of mental health. But it wasn't long before some farsighted humanists in the educational world saw the opportunity to broaden their influence, and psychology became a prerequisite in nearly all college curriculums. Courses designed specifically for future social workers and teachers are now saturated with psychology. Many careers today that deal with children require a degree in Child Psychology or Early Child Development. Today even nursery school children are being exposed to parenting ideas and worldly techniques originally invented in attempts to treat the mentally ill. By the time these students reach adulthood their viewpoints have been so shaped by secular psychology, that they can scarcely think any other way. And naturally they begin raising their own children in the same tradition. What better way for satan to steal the hearts of our children away from the Lord, but to subtly slip his distortions into the belief system of young students via our schools. 

Frankly a chill runs up my spine every day as I read the many queries sent to me from young parents coming out of our modern school systems. Most of these parents, even though they are Christians, don't realize what is happening as they repeat to me the worldly beliefs instilled in them by the schools. Even the churches are beginning to accept these wrong philosophies as psychologists are deemed "experts" virtually everywhere. These poor deceived parents are like the Ninevites, of whom the Lord said in Jonah 4:11, they "don't know the difference between their right and left hand." So where do we go from here? I am reminded of the passage in Scripture concerning King Ahaziah, who had inquired of a heathen god as to whether he would recover from a serious illness he suffered. God sent Elijah the prophet to tell the King: "Thus says the LORD, 'Is it because there is no God in Israel {that} you are sending to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up, but shall surely die.'" 2 Kings 1:6 (NAS) It is my prayer that if you are like these parents, duped by the world's philosophies in the form of psychology, your eyes will be opened and the truth about God's way of parenting will be revealed to you through His word, and you will have the courage to reject the evil you have been taught. Let us begin going to the Lord for direction in all of our lives, including our parenting, and not to the world.

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world."
- I John 4:1

(c) Copyright 2007 L. Elizabeth Krueger.  All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.