Instruction Manuals for Our Keiki

Have you ever tried to build something you bought from a store and the instruction manual made absolutely no sense whatsoever?  How about the time you had extra parts, even after you followed the directions to a “t”?

I have heard it said that being a parent isn’t easy and there are no instruction manuals.

That may be true for people who have no religious foundation, but for those of us who do, the Bible provides many answers that we will need.

As a parent myself, I have tried to live by a few simple rules although I admit that consistency was (and is) my greatest challenge, but I will share them with you.

First and foremost the Bible instructs us to “[t]rain the young in the way they should go; even when old, they will not swerve from it.” (NAB, Proverbs 22:6).  I take this to mean that we are the first and foremost educator of our child.  Not the school system.  Not Planned Parenthood.  Not the Uncle down the street.  Not Facebook.  Not Twitter.  You get the point.

A recent study by Pew showed that 61% (six in ten) of millenials, and 60% of Baby Boomers use Facebook for political news.  It’s about 51% for Generation X. (Read the study here.)  That is a bit scary.

No matter the age, if we are making political decisions based on Facebook, we are in serious trouble.

The second instruction is directed at the head of the household. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4).  This simply means that we are guiding our children in the right decisions.  Consider the example of a shepherd leading the sheep with his staff.  Gently ensuring that the sheep doesn’t stray from the path.  This “correction” doesn’t place them at the mercy of changing winds and hungry wolves (political correctness).

I think of my own father who would stand next to the baseball field urging my brother to make it to first, second, and then home.  My dad understood that no parent should put their child on a baseball field without first teaching them the rules of the game.

Finally, we should make time to conduct truthful and candid discussions with our keiki about life.  This includes the uncomfortable topics of sex, drug abuse and relationships.  You don’t have to be a PhD to understand that if you stay silent on these issues, your child will learn about them from other sources.

Deuteronomy 6:7 says that we should “teach [the Word of God] diligently to your children, and talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”  This means having an open and ongoing communication with them that we have made a priority.  The Word of God is relevent today but we need to show our children how and why that is.

Trusting that our children will build a solid foundation of moral choices, cannot happen without providing the right tools. Parents are the source from which that foundation is built and our faith is the glue that keeps it all together.

The finished product is a well-built piece of handiwork.  And the best part? There are no left over pieces!