The Most Important Parenting Principle

Session two of our parenting conference built on the foundation that was laid in part 1. Today, Bill Farley explained to us the most important principle in our parenting, our example. He taught us that over and above everything else that we do as parents, all the training, discipline, education, and affection, the most important aspect of out parenting is the way we live life in front of our children.

Here are the big points to take away from this session mixed in with specific quotes that I thought were helpful and insightful (the stuff in bold):

Children learn more by their eyes than their ears. This means that whatever we do in front of them will have a greater impact than what we tell them to do. “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t cut it.

Parents who joyfully pursue God are contagious

Parenting is the most important leadership position in the church

Bill based the main point of this message in the example that Jesus left us. He did everything that He taught. There was no inconsistency in Him. We express this example in two ways:

1. Our Marriage

Ephesians 5 tells us that marriage is a mysterious and beautiful picture of Christ and the church. The husband mirrors Christ by loving His wife sacrificially and the wife mirrors the church by humbly submitting to her husband. Our marriage is preaching to our children. We must seek to live out the commands of Ephesians 5 if our marriage is to preach the Gospel rightly to our children.

When this is done rightly our children will grow up with a healthy picture of the gospel and of marriage in general. Our sons will look for women who display the same humbly submissive qualities of their moms, and our daughters will seek men who share the same lovingly self-sacrificial qualities of their dads.

How do we cultivate this Gospel centered attitude in our marriage? by:

a. Deepening our own personal relationship with the Lord, and
b. By praying together regularly (developing a God-centered marriage)

2. Our Humility

Pride comes with two very distinct symptoms:

a. It makes us blind to our own sin.
b. It makes us uncorrectable

We are naturally good at recognizing the sin in others, especially our spouses and our children, and we are naturally resistant to correction. Constantly and consistently preaching the Gospel to ourselves is the most effective way to battle pride and foster humility. When our children see us as teachable, selfless, quick to forgive and seek forgiveness, and very aware of our faults, they will respond in the same way. They need humility as much as we do, and we need to model it for them.

You are going to fail

We especially need to remember that last line. It is powerful way to produce humility in our hearts.

Next up will be a breakdown of the me’n and women’s breakouts. Stay tuned.

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