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Stepping on Toes
His father had never crossed him at any time by asking, “Why have you done so?” 1 KINGS 1:6
Maybe he was too busy. Maybe he didn’t feel like his own sinful past gave him the right to enforce morality. For whatever reason, the verse above tells us that David didn’t train his son Adonijah to become a man. He didn’t correct him but instead spoiled him. And it cost them both dearly.
Barbara and I learned a lot of lessons with our own six kids. These action points will serve you well along the way:
1. Ask questions. Ask who they’ve been talking to on the phone. Find out who their friends are. When they are teenagers, make them tell you
where they went on their dates and who they hung out with. Don’t be bashful about checking up on them.
2. Avoid isolation. As children grow older, they start wanting more space, which is fine within limits. But they’ll push you away altogether if you let them. What they need is not distance but a relationship with wise counselors—their parents.
3. Believe in them. The teenage years are especially clouded with self-doubt and insecurities, and the social pecking order in junior high and high school can be brutal. Express your belief and confidence in your children as often as you can.
4. Establish boundaries. Determine where they can go. When they need to be home. What movies they can watch. What they can wear. God has given you the assignment of drawing lines and boxes—and to inspect what you expect.
5. Confront sin. Kids need parents who will restrain them from evil, loving them enough to watch carefully and discipline faithfully.
David lost his son because he refused to make him face the consequences of his choices. Don’t let it happen in your house.
In your family, which of the five action points is a strength? A weakness? Talk about how you are going to team up to do a better job as a couple.
Ask for the courage to keep pressing in, even when your kids push back. Pray for consistency to correct and train, even when they don’t appear to be listening.