May 26, 2014

Family union strengthened with God as bond

May 26, 2014 By Barrett Vanlandingham Fort Faith

TV parents can be funny, helpless, crude, near perfect, or just about any other way a show’s producer wants to portray them. The Bible shows parents in many different lights, too.  

In this week’s Fort Faith column, I am beginning a five-part series on family life. In part one, I am going to take a look at what the Bible has to say about parents and their responsibilities.

For starters, parents are supposed to teach their children about the kind of behavior God expects them to practice. The wisest man who ever lived has a famous quote on this topic. It comes from Proverbs 22:6.  Solomon says, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”  

This may be a general statement. But I happen to believe it is true, even if it takes more than a few years to reach the desired outcome. I know of one man who rebelled against his parents from the time he was a child until he himself was in his 60s! Eventually, he came to realize his parents really did know best when they were basing life lessons from the Bible. When things work as they should, the family unit is to be the main source of learning for children. Parents are supposed to make sure of that, even though a child can often, at least for a time, live as if he or she learned nothing from them. Moses wrote that parents are to take advantage of daily opportunities to teach life lessons by weaving God’s commands into everyday tasks and conversations (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

It is also important for parents to correct their children in the way God intended when they get off track.   After all, the media and other influences in our society certainly show no hesitation when forcefully targeting and teaching our children to live by cultural norms that are opposite God’s will for His people. When a parent spends time with a child, they grow to understand each other. And even if a child disagrees with a parent’s decision, they will respect the parent who uses Godly advice. Maybe not immediately, but they’ll come around.

And finally, parents are supposed to nurture their children, and make them feel loved and supported, not bitter or discouraged (Colossians 3:21). This does not mean a parent has to be a pushover. It simply means the parent should imitate the love of Jesus. Be willing to listen, and teach them Godly traits through word and example. One more thing, parents should always pray to God about the decisions they make for their family.

By the way, this series of family articles and advice is aimed at me and my parenting skills as much as anyone. Have a great week!

Reach Barrett Vanlandingham at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ at (918) 478-2222 or barrett@

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