Parenting: How to Cultivate Character (Not Just Control Chaos)




This article is an excerpt from one of Shane Idleman’s sermons on Parenting. View the message here.


In a chaotic and confusing world, let’s get grounded by looking to Scripture. Raising responsible kids is no microwave magic; it takes consistent time and energy. The results are often not instantaneous – diligence and perseverance will be your greatest assets, but the rewards far outweigh the challenges (Note: All Scriptures are ESV unless otherwise noted).


1. Psalms 127:3, “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb a reward.”


Children are a gift from the Lord in a society that often places a low value on them, to the point of aborting the inconvenience. The key is to focus on the blessings, not the difficulties; on the rewards and joys not the disappointments and sorrows.


2. 2 Tim. 3:15, “And how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”


A major responsibility of parents is to make children familiar with the Scriptures and how to apply them to their daily lives. Church should be supplemental in regard to educating our children about God. The best place is the home.


Pick one topic for the week such as God’s sovereignty or His love and teach on it in deed and action. When financial difficulties come, let your children see you praying and seeking God rather than yelling at everyone. Remember, character is taught and caught. Don’t throw Scriptures at them – the approach that uses the Bible like a machine gun will not work, but a broken and contrite heart that uses Scripture when the Holy Spirit prompts, will work – let them see the Scriptures in you.


3. Matthew 6:34 (NASB), “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”


When we allow our minds to dwell on difficulty and trouble, it will affect our children at a very deep level. Prov. 12:25 reminds us that, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.” Do your words and actions build your children, or harm them… do you encourage or discourage?


I came across an article, Simplifying Childhood May Protect Against Mental Health Issues, from the website Raised Good – Parenting by Nature. The article describes what I’ve been sensing for years.


















Here are a few key points that stood out: “Early in his career, Kim Payne volunteered in refugee camps where children were dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. He describes them as, ‘jumpy, nervous, and hyper-vigilant, wary of anything novel or new.’ Years later Payne ran a private practice in England, where he recognized many affluent English children were displaying the same behavioural tendencies as the children living in war zones half a world away. Why would these children living perfectly safe lives show similar symptoms?”




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