I want my Kids to be Happy
I believe parents want their kids to be happy and enjoy life to the fullest. I believe King Solomon wanted his son to be happy and experience life to its fullest. In fact this is why Solomon wrote Proverbs. He cared about his son’s well-being. Proverbs is a book that falls under the genre of wisdom literature. It is evident Solomon desired the best for his son because Solomon sought to impart to his son wisdom that would enable him to enjoy the life God gave him. In fact Solomon starts Proverbs instructing his son to “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction” (Prov 1:8) While Solomon desires life’s best for his child, as you read the book of Proverbs you will see that His primary focus of Proverbs isn’t for His Son to be happy. The primary focus is on a greater goal.
What is more important than Happiness
This introduces an important thought for Parents. Yes, we want our kids to be happy, but there is something that should be more important to us. Without it, our children will struggle to find the joy of Life. What our children need is to learn to be obedient. Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. Kids need to learn to follow the Lord. Obedience is a hard word for many of us to swallow. As adults we may even cringe at such a word. When it comes to God, obedience may be a word you have come to hate because people you have trusted have used obedience under the name of God to take manipulate you. Trust is an important part of obedience. When you know someone is leading you down a path that will be of great benefit and they are trustworthy, obedience can become a joy and not a choir. We should not allow someone, who has wrongfully abused the name of God, to sideline us from pursuing the one true God. Why? Because if we stopped pursuing what is true and good due to a bad experience, we would have an excuse to never pursue anything worthwhile. The one true God is a good God regardless of others. He created us for life (John 10:10), He created us to find our purpose and joy in him. The way that I discover this joy is learning how to follow him. Therefore, By following him, my joy is made complete (Prov 3:5-6; 1 John 1:4). I want my children to go wherever God leads. I want them to trust Him, follow His plan and surrender their will to His will.
Relationships Thrive in Boundaries
As people we are created for relationships. All relationships have boundaries and obedience teaches us to live in those boundaries in a healthy way. I understand by fulfilling my role as a parent, my kids can learn how to follow God. Why? Because God has made me to watch over them as an example of how he watches over us. I am not the perfect Dad. I feel like this parenting thing is messy, but I do want to model for my kids what it means for Dad to care for them and be over their maturity as young boys. I also want to model for them what it looks like for Dad to be under authority before God. Just as my children learn to walk in life with me, so dad walks in Life with Jesus. In Short, I want my kids to learn how to live in a loving relationship with God as their father by learning how to be in a healthy relationship with me as their father who loves them and helps guide them. Ultimately, I will point them to Jesus who is over all of us. As my kids learn about obedience and healthy relationships…Here are two crucial thoughts I want to model in our relationship to teach them about walking with the Lord: #1 I will always love them no matter what just as God loves them unconditionally, and (Romans 5:8) #2 our relationship best experiences that love when our relationship is healthy (same with the Lord). For example, when disobedience is present there is division and when division is present relationships suffer. We need to understand relationships work best in Unity and all relationships have boundaries that help them thrive. Proverbs 3:32b “God is intimate with the upright.” Obedience and boundaries helps us enjoy relationships and experience life together. It is when trust is violated and boundaries are crossed that relationships suffer.
One word of Caution with Obedience
As a parent I must be careful not be a tyrant over my children seeking to only produce obedience machines. It is possible to win your child’s behavior but never win your child’s heart. The truth is a relationship isn’t truly a relationship without the heart. As a parent I am not after behavior modification, what I am after is a heart transformation. I want my kids to follow me because they take joy in obeying their father. Therefore, in everything I do for them they need to understand that it is all out of love for them, even in discipline. I should never discipline out of anger but out of a desire for my child to mature into the person God created them to be in Him. Discipline should always be done thinking of the long term. I don’t discipline to punish my children. I discipline to see my children mature. Discipline always thinks of the long term. God created us for life and to live life to the fullest. That life is found in Him. We all need a relationship with God. God is where we experience the fullest joy for which we were created.
Do I want my boys to be happy? Yes, I do want their happiness. In fact, I believe ultimate happiness is found in living within the pleasure of God—delighting in the things in which He delights. But more than anything—I simply want my boys to be obedient. It is through following after God that we really experience the joy for which we were created. Your child will face challenges in life, but following the Lord will bring them the joy to overcome. When a child gets a clear understanding they are loved, they are valued, they were made for a greater purpose, and God has a glorious plan for their future, they grow in confidence in life. It is much easier for your child to be happy when they find confidence in who they are before a God who has a glorious plan for their life.