I’m no parenting expert. I didn’t take early childhood development classes or anything like that. But, slowly, as I live here in these four walls with these four little ones each and every day, God’s granting me wisdom to lead them in a way that keeps us walking in His ways.
When my kids start turning the wrong direction, I’ve found that sometimes a question can turn them right back. And even as the question leaves my lips, I seem to hear God asking the same to me. So, here are five questions I ask that have helped turn us in the way we should go.
1When they’re dishonoring or disobeying me. I ask, ‘Don’t you want to have a good day? Don’t you want things to go well with you?’ I admit that I make mistakes and that I’m not necessarily worthy of honor all the time, but that God PROMISES to make things go well with them if they will just obey.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-2
2When they are grumpy and don’t like the way the day is going. I ask, ‘Did you forget that God loves you and that He’s planned this day just the way it is, just perfectly for you?’ I remind them that though this may not seem good to them in this moment, God commands us to be happy because He will make all these moments become all they’re supposed to be.
This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
3When they’re afraid. I ask, ‘Do you know what Jesus destroyed when He walked out of the tomb that day?’ I remind them that all of our scariest enemies were shown to be weak when Jesus defeated death. Because He could rescue us from our scariest enemy-death, He proves He can rescue us from anything else that might frighten us.
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:56-57
4When they are doing things in secret or lying. I ask them, ‘Did you forget that Christ is the light of the world? Do you know what that means for all of us who follow Him? It means that everything we do should be done in the light, for everyone to see.’ I want to have only a few rules in this house and ‘no secrets’ has to be one of them.
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” John 3:19-21
5When they’re selfish and don’t want to share. I ask, ‘Who owns this (toy or book or bike or whatever)?’ They often answer with the name of the one who received it as a gift. And I remind them that everything is God’s. Everything. That He’s shared these things with us and so expects us to share with others.
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. Psalm 24:1-2
I don’t preach a sermon every time my kids turn the wrong direction, but I do try to ask these questions often enough that they know the answers when they find themselves down the wrong path. More often than not, it’s me that needs to hear these questions-to remember that these things aren’t mine, but His; to rejoice no matter how this day is going; and to do only deeds and say only words that I would want published and displayed in the light.
Whether you’re 3 or 33, His words are truly lights for life’s path. What questions seem to turn your kids (and you) in the right direction?