Every young person's future is filled with possibilities.


 As parents... we have the awesome privilege 


of cultivating, shaping, and directing our children's hearts 


toward God! 



Question:


Are we teaching our children the way of wisdom and life, 


or are we instilling in them the way of folly and death?



Family life is changing, and so, too, is the role mothers and fathers play.


We are witnessing an increase of single-parent or primary parent systems.


The normal childhood experience of over 61 percent of today's youth


is to live with only one parent and/or spend part of their lives 


in a single parent family. 



Single-parent families can be defined as families where 


a dependent child or children lives with one parent.



There was a rapid and drastic increase in the number of single-parent families in 


the latter half of the twentieth century. This change has been used by some to argue


 that we are witnessing the breakdown of the family. This breakdown, according to


 some, has negative effects for children, families, and our society. 


Others suggest that single-parent families are not necessarily 


abnormal or problematic, 


but rather an alternative form of family


Regardless of how family diversity is viewed, the increase in and constancy of 


families led by one parent has a major influence on the social, economic, and 


political condition of family life.



Mothers and fathers often bring different strengths and styles 


to their parenting roles. These roles should complement each other 


for healthy child rearing.

Fathers influence their children in large part through the quality of their 


relationship with the mother of their children.


Mothers and fathers, keeping their children's best interest at heart, 


can bring unique strengths to their relationships with their children. 


Children with both a mother and a father can benefit from 


additional caring, as well as a diversity of caring processes.

We will never be perfect parents, but when God is in the forefront of all of our 


affairs... there is nothing we can do, on our own, that will have a higher return.


God provides the skills needed for managing the home and our families.


God knows that a positive, godly environment

helps families to flourish and the dividends are more than generational!


May we keep God at the forefront 


of all of our circumstances.


 We can succeed... 


as long as God leads.


Young people observe how Mom and Dad depend on God in their struggles, 


and they will remember how God helped.

Parents' belief in God's sufficiency will leave a strong impression on their children.

Later, when faced with choices, they will have those examples

of faith and trust in God to help guide them.


Our Father's love is constant and unchanging,


 regardless of what we do.


When children experience the unalterable nature of God's love


 through a parent's example,


they will be drawn to God.



In the privacy of our home, we also want our family to see Jesus in us.


Children learn from their parents arguments.


If mom and dad exchange angry words, 


but later resolve their issues peaceably,


children learn that calm often follows storms.


If we show forgiveness, patience, and acceptance 


then our children will expect to find those traits in God.



In a similar way, negative behaviors or examples,


consistent harshness, busyness, or emotional neglect 


also shape a child's view of God.



Children learn what they live.


Both parents should teach their children


to be honest, responsible, trustworthy and respectful, 


whether they are male or female.



Differences in parental play styles do exist.


Young men can learn from a single mother many great things about life.


Mothers are usually the ones who help children to know about God,


mind their manners, respect elders...


and the list could go on and on.


Women, by far, can raise a good man, 


but, as quiet as some would like to keep it,


 there are certain masculine traits, 


like, teaching a boy how to be a real man,  


that women are unable to provide.



There is a very interesting and obvious phenomenon occurring


as it relates to our children's perception of authority figures.


At home, the mother is usually the dominant authority figure.


The teachers, and the church congregations consists of mostly women.


Women have been forced into areas that some men have totally abandoned...


leaving voids and identity crisis for all involved. 



Raising a child up without obvious male role models 


at home, school, and other key locations


can leave our children empty and vulnerable.



In their efforts to fill this unknown void... they become curious...


sometimes to a gang culture and street machismo


that might threaten to lead them into criminality.

Question:

Will a fathers' presence and God-centered households

help combat crime?

A father's involvement, support, and connection


with his children have been associated with safer 


more positive environments and outcomes.



A father's presence is essential 

to his child's well-being.

Children with involved, loving fathers

are significantly more likely

 to do well in school, 

have healthy self-esteem,

and avoid high-risk behaviors 

such as drug use, 

truancy, 

and criminal activity. 

Every day is father's day!

Dads play a unique and irreplaceable role in their children's lives.

They play a unique and crucial role in nurturing 

and guiding children's development.

Many experts now believe that fathers can be just as nurturing 

and sensitive with their babies as mothers.


As their children grow, fathers take on added roles 

of guiding their children's intellectual and social development.

Even when a father is 'Just playing' with his children, 

he is nurturing their development.


Children with involved fathers are usually more intellectually,

 developmentally, and socially sound.

Dads are crucial.

Fathers play an important role in a child's development 

from birth through adulthood.

In fact, numerous studies have reached the same conclusion:

Children with involved fathers have an advantage... 

socially and academically...

over children with distant or no relationships with their dads.


Another study found that primary school children scored higher 

on tests of empathy,

the ability to see a situation from another person's viewpoint,

if they had secure attachments to their fathers during infancy.

These children were able to recognize how other children felt

and took steps to make them feel better.


In many cases, when fathers are involved with their children...

the children appear to have fewer, disciplinary, problems.


The father's involvement is a tremendous help to the children.

In many cases, children with fathers who take the time

 to ask about what they learned in school

and their day-to-day social activities and relationships

do better in school than kids 

who don't have that kind of input or interest.

A child's first image of God is their earthly father.


Fathers are far more than just another adult in the home.


 Involved fathers bring positive benefits to their children 


that no other person is as likely to bring.


Children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure.

 

It's important to note:

A father figure doesn't have to be a biological father

 in order for children to benefit.

It can be an adoptive father, step dad, or an uncle in the household.

It is beneficial to everyone when the father is


more involved with their children.



The reason why some of our children are out there lost, 

without any direction is because somebody has failed to give them their history... 

their bridges to the world.

The bond of an extended family, friends, and teammates 

becomes very powerful. 

It also explains why some adolescents join gangs. They want to belong,

 even if it's wrong.


We all have a deep-seated need 


to feel we are part of something larger than ourselves.


This need, encompasses people, places, and possessions. 


Our instinct for belonging, for being wanted, accepted, enjoyed, 


and loved by close ones is extremely powerful!



Fathers and mothers open doors of opportunities for their children

by giving them access to a vast network including: 

grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends of the family.


Our children need to realize they have true purpose and value.

Questions to Ponder:


Are we truly taking the time to teach our children the virtues of purity?

Are we teaching them about their bodies being the temple of the Holy Spirit?

Are we instead focusing and choosing to teach our children

about condoms, birth control, and safe sex?
Are we, by example and words,

 stressing a Godly attitude towards drinking and drugs,

or are we waiting for some school program 

to give our child a "Just say no" lesson?

Do we keep our children accountable to us as their parent and guardian,

or are we more interested in trying to be their best friend and get them to like us?

Nothing keeps us on our knees or on our toes


like parenting!

Are we like Joshua, who said these wonderful words:

"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15b),

or have we left our children to find their own way in this world full of temptations,

 sins, and evil?
Children want to have standards to live up to!

Children may fight us every step of the way,

 but secretly they are grateful that we love them enough

to want to fence them in with high standards and rules.


Not only do our children want it --


God wants us to teach our children His commands and standards!


Deuteronomy 32:46, "And He said unto them,


Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, 


which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law."


Deuteronomy 6:6-7,


"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 


And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,


and shall talk of them when thou sit in thine house,


and when thou walk by the way, and when thou lie down,


and when thou rise up."


Regardless of the label we wear parent, teacher, neighbor, or aunt...


we have the opportunity every day to be the best version of ourselves


and share that with the children in our world.


May we let the children in our world witness us modeling appropriate behavior.


May we commit to pray daily with and for our children.


May we provide a safe haven, where our children's questions are answered


and their doubts can change to faith and certainty.


May we invite all children

to experience the love of God.


May we send them out to reflect God


in their daily lives.



"What a sweet reward it is for parents to hear adult children say,


"We are grateful for the way you all raised us


and all of the life lessons that we were taught.."

Jesus loves me still today,

walking with me on my way,

wanting as a friend to give 

light and love to all who live.

God designed parents to be the primary nurturers of their children.


Granted, none of us are perfect parents,


 but we can be praying parents!


Prayer is our highest privilege as parents,


 and prayers can cover our shortcomings.  



We believe godly guidance and inspiration can leave an imprint 

 

to benefit our children, grand children, and future generations. 



As we hand the baton over to the next runner... 


we will know that our lives mattered...


because we are, intentionally, leaving the world a better place...  


for future generations.