ARTICLE ONE
The Challenge: 
Be Fruitful and Multiply! (Gen.1:28)

God has handed you the controls for shaping a life.
What are you going to do with them?

1.  Why these articles?
    You don't have to be Christians to feel an immense burden of responsibility when that first child arrives.  As new parents your world has suddenly expanded dramatically and you have become aware that another human being now depends on you for survival, for growth and for its ability to walk safely through the coming years.  But Christian parents recognize that God has given them a weighty responsibility that goes far beyond simply increasing the world's population (multiply, Gen. 1:11,22).  The challenge was not only to multiply, but also to be fruitful, and being fruitful requires that we use the talents that God has given us to mold and shape that new life so that the world will be a better place because of it.  In short, we are challenged to be profitable stewards of a fragile treasure that God has entrusted to our care.

   No one enters the world with the skills needed to be a good parent.  Those skills must somehow be acquired by the time they're needed, a process that once may have been more natural and effective than can be expected in today's fast-paced world.  While Biblical principles for child rearing were once well known, few today are even aware of the fundamental charge found in the Book of Proverbs to "Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it."  Instead, the well-intentioned, but highly destructive, theory of parenting based on enhancing a child's self-esteem has permeated our culture.

Click here for 
Proverbs for Parents 

   Many young parents simply don't know what to do or which way to go to meet the challenge.  This course can provide valuable guidance to those who recognize their responsibility but have neither the experience nor the example of their own up-bringing to guide them, and yet are able to see the terrible consequences of parenting failure in a growing population of antisocial teenagers.

   The challenge God gives us, as articulated in Proverbs 22:6 ("Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it."), includes some implications that are worth special notice.  It assumes that a person should (1) live by a certain standard, (2) that he can be molded, and (3) that the molding process is most effective when the person is a child. Common sense is well confirmed by recent research which has revealed the incredibly rapid development of the brain prior to and immediately after birth.  The critical importance of environment during the earliest years is clear, demanding that parents begin the training process at birth and recognize that course corrections become more difficult as patterns of behavior become established.

    Do the required parenting skills come naturally?  No, they don't, but the Bible and experienced, successful parents can help to supply them.
 
  

2.  What do you hope to learn here that will help you meet the challenge?
Read Proverbs 1:1-9.
    The wise author of the Proverbs offered counsel for "attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair . . .."  These are the things you can hope to derive from this course if you, young parents, are willing to behave in a disciplined way as you take on life's most important challenge.  It's not easy, but we will offer a few basic rules that can give you confidence that someday you will look back and say, "It was a job well done."  There is no greater reward.

    (Some things you won’t get from this course: Hints about potty training, breast feeding, dealing with teething, etc. Also, it should be understood that the course is predicated on the assumption that parental responsibility is shared by a husband and a wife; the single parent must recognize his or her handicap and try to apply these principles accordingly.)

3.  Why should you expect to learn anything from this teacher’s teaching?
    You didn't come to this site for entertainment, you came because you were looking for help.  That's good; that's Step One toward your goal of successful parenting.  In fact, your chances of reaching that goal are enhanced simply by your concern and your determination to think about the problem.   But to keep you on the right track, we recommend that you take advantage of as many Christian-oriented parenting guides as you can absorb - - books, videos, articles and web sites - - to supplement our basic course.  We don't claim to have all the answers, nor do we provide guidance on many important topics, such as developing integrity, challenging to strive for excellence, etc.  But we do claim that following our simple rules will insure that you will be able to establish yourselves in a position of respect and confidence, from which your words and examples can effectively and constructively mold the life of your child.
 
    My background as a chemist, inventor and successful businessman has little bearing on my credibility as a parenting counselor.  But what really counts is the fact that I was blessed with a wonderful wife who has provided four wonderful sons and given me forty-six wonderful years of love, joy and peace.  Those sons, of course, are my real credentials.  All are happily married (once), busily engaged in generating grandchildren, and actively participating in church activities as teachers and deacons.  Bert and I can proudly claim to be experienced, successful parents, and for that we thank the Lord.

  
4.  Is parenting harder today than it was for your parents?  How?  Why?
    In some ways, the American Dream has turned into a nightmare in which more is never enough.  The media have taught us to want things that fail in their promise of happiness, but we seem nevertheless to devote more and more of our precious time to reaching for them.  In the process, the integrity of the family has been sacrificed.  Parents have increasingly accepted alternatives to being with their children so they can afford a "better" lifestyle.  Consequently they're finding it far harder to nurture  than their parents did.

    Another factor that's adding to the parent's burden is the escalating level of morally distracting messages put out by the media.  There seems to be no end to the increasing sex, violence and tasteless language that is piped into our family rooms.  Each new generation of parents must contend with a larger demon.

5.  How do you rate your parents as parents?  Would you do the same as they did?  If not, why not?
    Most of us think we turned out pretty well and give our parents reasonably good marks.  But some whose folks were excessively strict are determined to go easy, while those who never knew a "no" want to take a much firmer stand.  We hope you have come to us, not to find justification for your theories, but to learn the basics of parenting from a reliable source that has provided sound guidance for thousands of years: The Bible.
 
 
6.  What is the most valuable legacy your parents have given you?
    If you were brought up in a home where God's name was held in reverence, where His words were treated with respect, and where Christ was worshipped as a priority, the answer to that question is easy: your parents' most valuable legacy was a Christian home.  That should be your objective, too, along with providing a good name, a good education, an appreciation for beauty, and a good sense of values.

 
CONCLUSION
    You have a God-given responsibility to “train your child in the way he should go.”  Meeting that challenge will require that you, as life-molders, discipline yourselves to follow the guidance the Lord has provided.  It won't be easy, but in the end it will be far easier and infinitely more rewarding than the alternative.


A helpful exercise:
    Prepare a list of up to ten COMMANDMENTS FOR PARENTS and have your spouse prepare one, too.  Then meld the two lists into a single product on which you both agree.  You may want to compare your list with the six principles found in Article Seven after your list is done.
 
Next: Is It Enough To Teach Survival Skills?
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Parenting 1.01 Bible-based Basics for New Parents by Gordon Rampy