PART 3 - Core Values
This is the last installment in our 3-part Raising Warriors series. I want you to know, mom to mom, you are doing an amazing job. We can always improve and find ways to love our families better, but let’s not forget to celebrate our wins and give ourselves grace as we figure this parenting thing out together! In this section, I’ve gone a little deeper and turned the mirror back on ourselves. The tone may feel a bit heavier but I think it’s important and necessary to stay teachable and open to steps of obedience God wants us to take.
As a parent, you set the tone for your family’s behavior, values, and lifestyle patterns. You have the power to limit access to things that are toxic to your family’s spiritual health. Your children are watching the behavior you model to see if it aligns with the words you say.
I mention this not to make you feel pressured to be perfect, but to be aware that it starts with YOU. If you are passive in matters of spirituality in your personal life, your children will see that as the norm. If they observe you pursuing spiritual growth through your daily habits and disciplines, they are more likely to pattern their own lives after yours.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” At any age, your children need you to set an example of godly living for them to follow. This can feel like a daunting task, as we are fallen humans in a fallen world, but it’s worth the fight! Take intentional steps to make your home a safe haven for all who enter - full of grace, acceptance, and God’s love.
Reflect on these 10 ways to build godly values into your family:
- Teach forgiveness. Practice resolving conflicts quickly and calmly, with involved parties confessing, asking for and receiving forgiveness from each other. Show them the benefits of being a peacemaker instead of holding a grudge.
- Give Grace. Allow your children to make mistakes without fear of being loved any less if they mess up. Address wrong behavior choices without attacking your child’s character. Follow moments of tough discipline with a reassuring hug or extended snuggle time.
- Encourage positive language. Let your kids know that hateful and belittling words are not allowed to be used to hurt each other. Speak words of life over your family and keep tempers in check, even when you’re angry or irritable.
- Place appropriate limits on screen time and entertainment content. KNOW WHAT YOUR KIDS ARE WATCHING!!! Exercise discretion in what you are watching and listening to around them. Explain to them why it’s important to be careful what we let into our minds, and model good decision-making in this area. Garbage in, garbage out.
- Know their friends. Ask questions and be aware of who your children are talking to and what kinds of friends they are seeking out. Teach them to be kind to everyone, but encourage them to choose an inner circle of close friends who are a positive influence in their lives and set boundaries with peers who drag them down.
- Make family church attendance a priority. Your kids will reach a point where they have to decide for themselves whether to get up and go to church, so do what you can to make it a positive experience for them as they grow up. If you have gotten into a habit of sleeping in or skipping services for sports or other activities, now is the time to change that! Find a place your family can belong and put down deep roots there.
- Laugh - sometimes we get stuck in a rut of taking ourselves too seriously. Don’t forget to be silly and play together with your family. I believe laughter is a reflection of God’s heart, and He delights in moments of fun we create with our children.
- Focus on relationship - every child longs to feel known, secure, loved unconditionally, and accepted for their unique qualities. These are all ways God demonstrates His love for us. Seek to know and understand your children’s hearts, and celebrate their individual strengths and giftings. Be your child’s champion.
- Reflect the Father’s heart. Recurring patterns of harsh criticism, addiction, neglect, abuse, anger and violence send a confusing message as we represent God’s nature to our kids. Please seek help if you struggle in any of these areas. Make yourself accountable to someone who can encourage true behavior change. Take steps to get to the root of the issue in your own heart to break strongholds and generational curses in your family. It can stop with you!
- Listen - finally, take the time to listen to your children. Look them in the eyes and understand what matters to them so you can be their advocate. Give them your attention in the little things so they will trust you with the big things. Speak the truth in love when they need it; guide them with God’s wisdom when they ask you for advice.
Here is a list of books you might find helpful as you navigate the waters of parenting:
The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell
Effective Parenting in a Defective World by Chip Ingram
Love & Respect in the Family by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford
In This House We Will Giggle by Courtney DeFeo
Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel
The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian