God’s first command to humanity was to be fruitful and multiply—to populate the earth. God greatly desires this, but even more so He desires “godly offspring” (Malachi 2:15). I believe "godly offspring" indicates spiritually mature people who have developed the mind and character of God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son.
Spending lots of time with your kids when they are very young is one of the best antidotes to negative peer pressure.
Humans don’t develop a mind like God’s naturally. It takes effort, time and dedication.
God has requested your active participation in the development of your children (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). You are to provide instruction, guidance and discipline to your children. Your time and energy can give them a head start on their life journey towards becoming that godly offspring. Plus you also grow in godliness yourself through the process. Think of it as a way to learn more about God yourself. You’ll understand concepts like authority, discipline and patience in a way you cannot imagine beforehand.
Raise your child yourself rather than sub-contracting it out
The first thing you have to do to get started with the spiritual development of your child is simple. You have to show up! Yep, you have to actually be there. Which when you start going through the logistics isn’t as easy as it sounds.
For most couples these days, both people work. So if both of you are working, you might want to ask yourselves, "What can we do to re-arrange life so that one of us is always available at home?" This may require sacrifice on both your part, to forego some of the opportunities and adventures that you might take.
And look, you’ve already learned a lesson about self-sacrifice!
If you are wondering if sacrifices like that are worth it, please remember that successfully raising children is one of the most important jobs you will ever have. Do whatever you can to avoid handing it over to someone else to do.
Dads: Don’t neglect your responsibilies
Responsibility for instruction, guidance and discipline of children should not fall solely upon the mother. If you as a couple have made some of the life balance adjustments indicated above, make sure that they include making time for dad to be with the kids.
Children are designed to be raised by both their mother and a father in a single family unit. Male and female parents fill in different parts of the total education and development of both boys and girls. Here are a couple of examples of what you as a father offer:
1. Fathers teach their sons about: acting like a man (fulfilling your expected and appropriate role), how to take responsibility, how to exercise leadership, how to treat a woman, and much more.
2. Fathers provide their daughters with appropriate masculine affection that: gives them greater self confidence, and reduces their drive to find affection from inappropriate sources (because their "love tank" is already full).
Don’t wait until kids get older to give them time
Spending lots of time with your kids when they are very young is one of the best antidotes to negative peer pressure. Conforming to what other kids at school are doing is not really a factor until about age 7 or 8; by then, basic character traits are established—hopefully by you! Peers will mostly affect superficial things like dress, language or musical tastes. These things can be problematic, but they are not core values.
You, as a parent, can be the one(s) with the most significant influence on your children. But you have to show up; be there. You have to choose to do it and make it happen.
Quantity time versus quality time
In Jesus’ day a person who wanted to become a disciple of some great teacher would basically sit at the feet of his teacher. He would follow the teacher around throughout the day and learn day after day. A disciple learned through formal lessons but also through the personal example of the teacher, which meant spending time together.
One of the silliest concepts I’ve heard is this idea that intense bursts of quality time somehow make up for what is lacking in the relationship between the busy parent and their children. Don’t be fooled by this clever-sounding falsehood.
Don’t misunderstand me here. Quality time is a real thing: it’s those intense moments when you are really connecting, when your child opens up to you and you learn about their hopes, dreams and fears. But quality time cannot be scheduled. In fact the only way to get to those shining moments of quality time is through quantity time.
Make quantity time happen by finding ways to do things together with your kids—fixing stuff around the house, making dinner together, sitting around shooting the breeze before bedtime. These are the casual unstructured moments that lead to that greatly desired quality time. And they are moments when you get those precious opportunities to speak to the heart of your child.
Take the time to be an awesome parent
Children are a great blessing. They have many wonderful attributes like wonder, openness, eagerness to learn, but they need you to spend time with them to provide guidance and instruction in a one-on-one setting that only you as a parent can really provide.
Raising a child before God your Father is among your greatest responsibilities in this life. It has the potential for great rewards. Some of those rewards are for them, and some of those rewards are for you.