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Child-Rearing Tips From the Ten Commandments

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Child-Rearing Tips From the Ten Commandments

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Screaming at the top of his little but powerful lungs was a belligerent toddler blocking the aisle of the department store. I thought about offering some help or advice, but when I saw the embarrassed, frazzled mom, I knew the timing was probably not good.

The department store was probably not the best place to learn vital principles to help in the increasingly challenging job of parenting. But where can parents find the tips that will make a real difference in their children's lives?

Certainly not in the world around us. Today, the most common emphasis appears to be on accommodating the needs and even the wants and desires of children. Sophisticated advertisements suggest that any new and exciting toy, movie or opportunity should be offered to those who "want it." (Many are persuaded they need it...) The long-term best interests of the child seem to be forgotten.

Parenting is truly an art and many would suggest there isn't one way to bring up a child to become a fully functional adult who is confident and competent.

Did you know that the Bible says differently? "If a child is trained up in the right way, even when he is old he will not be turned away from it" (Proverbs 22:6 Proverbs 22:6Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
American King James Version×
, Bible in Basic English). The New King James Version says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."

There is a way, a right way, to teach a young mind how to succeed in life. You don't need the latest psychology or a ton of toys; you basically need to imitate the amazing formula contained within the laws of God.

The Ten Commandments

The timeless Ten Commandments are filled with practical advice for parents, teachers and any who want to live a long and productive life. These amazing laws have even been reduced down to almost a sound bite. Christ said the first great commandment (which could encapsulate the first four commandments listed in Exodus 20) is to love God with all your heart, soul and mind. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40 Matthew 22:37-40 [37] Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. [38] This is the first and great commandment. [39] And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [40] On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
American King James Version×
).

Let's analyze this advice, remembering that God is the ultimate parent, creating us in His image and offering us sonship in His family.

Love God

To love God is to know God! The Bible shares with us the amazing plan that God has for mankind, and within its pages there are examples that fit the entire range of the human experience. Remember, Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9 Ecclesiastes 1:9The thing that has been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
American King James Version×
).

Reading the Bible and telling Bible stories is a fascinating way to impart a value-based morality that clearly shows cause and effect. Children who have such benchmark formulas have a huge head start on life. The Bible illustrates cause and effect, and little has changed in thousands of years when it comes to relationships.

As cultures change, they almost always drift away from absolutes, choosing instead to accept humanistic thinking. These situational ethics (often called postmodernism) allow for people to do what they feel is right and often find out too late that the maker of human life has created absolute laws to govern all life. There is an effect to every choice we make.

Foundational Advice—Tell the Truth

Of great importance is truthfulness. To learn of God is to learn of the truth! If one were to always tell the truth and live the truth, he would ultimately have a relationship with God, who personifies truth (John 14:6 John 14:6Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
American King James Version×
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Here are some suggestions for helping your children become truth-oriented:

•Always insist on the truth.

•Don't lie to your children, even about myths, fairy tales, the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, etc.

•Reward your children for being truthful and be consistent in challenging untruths.

•Explain to your child that even though telling the truth could be painful and indicting, it will lead to a most important character trait—honesty! Note: It has been said that if you always tell the truth, you don't have to remember what you said.

•Don't entrap your child. If you know your child has said or done something requiring correction, respond to it immediately without the common, "Did you do/say...?" which often provokes a denial in an effort to refrain from incurring a penalty.

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

This second great commandment, which is the distillation of the last six of the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20, shows us how to order our lives to offer others the same consideration we would want for ourselves.

We should treat others the way we would want them to treat us. Therefore, we don't dishonor, hate or kill others, defraud someone's future mate or take or covet what is not ours. This implies a work ethic, thrift and patience.

It sounds amazing that much of what is needed to rear children can come from ten rather short commands that can be further shortened to two basic principles of living.

Be a Godly Parent

If you want to be a good parent, you need to have God foremost in your life. There is no doubt that child rearing is a difficult, complex task in the complicated world of the 21st century. However, successful parents learn to put first things first. Having a relationship with the creator God and sharing that with your children is as basic as it gets.

The daily contact we have with our heavenly Father is a wonderful way to tap into the wisdom needed to make difficult choices and to seek the protection and insights all parents need. When children see your example of asking for help, you demonstrate that, in the same manner, yielding to you for their needs is natural.

Perhaps the most common mistakes parents can make are feeling they are self-sufficient for the role of bringing up their children or that it doesn't matter, as kids will figure life out as they grow up.

However, there is a way that really works! It's a way as sure as the laws that sustain the universe, causing the sun to rise and the rain to fall from the sky. God's laws, framed by the commandments, are an invaluable resource to explain cause and effect. God said to the first child, "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it" (Genesis 4:7 Genesis 4:7If you do well, shall you not be accepted? and if you do not well, sin lies at the door. And to you shall be his desire, and you shall rule over him.
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).

Giving our children the clarity of right and wrong, cause and effect, allows them to choose wisely, having confidence that there is a way to live life. For more information on tips about parenting, check the Web site www.ucg.org/youth. UN

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