The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock~ Matthew 7:25
Like many couples, my husband and I have entirely different priorities when it comes to house hunting. I am all about cute. I look for original wood floors, unique details, and lots and lots of windows. My husband worked in construction for years and has a far more practical (read: boring) bent; he is concerned with the condition of the roof, the energy efficiency of all those windows I am in love with, and—of course—the location.
An older home with original molding, distinctive features and a front porch roomy enough for two rocking chairs will leave me swooning and impatient to commit. Until my practical hubby kills the moment by pointing out that my dream home has no garage, a vintage furnace, and is located between an all-night liquor store and a vacant lot scattered with hypodermic needles and evidence of a homeless camp.
If we are lucky enough to find a house cute enough for me and sensible enough for my husband, the next step is a trip to the basement for a thorough inspection of the foundation. My man has been known to spend an hour checking over every square inch of the foundation searching for cracks and other evidence of weaknesses. If I had a dollar for every house that has been crossed of our list on the basis of a questionable foundation, I could quite possibly double the down payment on our next house.
As vexing as I find my husband’s practicality, I do understand where he is coming from. Flooring can be changed; location cannot. A faulty foundation takes buckets of money and a Herculean effort to repair.
Houses are not the only things built on a foundation. The character of our kids is built on a foundation. The foundation we build when our children are young will go a long way in determining the outcome of their lives.
There are three components necessary to build a solid foundation in the life of our kids. It all starts with:
The daily skirmishes with your two- to seven-year-old child are not about what they appear to be about. It might feel as if you are simply having a difference of opinion over food choices, personal hygiene, bedtime, organization and obedience. In reality you are in a battle with your child over who exactly is going to be the leader in your home. You win it by kindly but assertively making the decisions about what is going to happen in your home, giving controlled choices and clear explanations for your decisions. Success will establish you and your spouse as the principal authority figures in your child’s life. This will prepare the child to accept and submit to the authority of teachers, coaches, police officers, bosses and God. If you lose, your child will become the default leader in your relationship dynamic and as a result every rule and request you make will be tested, either actively or passively (depending on the personality of your child) and your child will never respect you or any other authority figure, including God.
Spiritual and ethical training
Every kid needs to understand that they are not the center of the universe and that other people matter as much as they do. We communicate this reality by teaching them to not just to love God, but also to obey Him, and teaching them biblical standards of right and wrong. Without a healthy fear of God and fixed standards to guide them, kids grow into adults driven not by reason, concern for others, or virtue, but by their own egos, appetites and passions.
Love as described in 1st Corinthians 13 is central to Christian parenting. Without love, our efforts to assert our parental authority will be perceived by our kids as cruel and controlling. Teaching kids to obey God’s precepts without modeling His love and grace in our daily interactions will lead to a skewed perception of and eventual rejection of God. Too many parents in our culture love their children extravagantly, all the while forgetting that love, if not combined with biblical training and appropriate respect for authority, produces a lonely, unhappy, self-absorbed adult.
Successful parents look at the big picture. Good parenting is not about making kids happy every minute of the day. Good parenting is about preparing kids for the future and teaching them right from wrong. It takes a combination of authority, moral instruction and love to get the job done.