Every good parent wants to train their children, but if we misunderstand what it is or how to do it, we can often make matters worse. Join AMBrewster as he helps Christian parents take the first steps to being the Training Parent God called and created them to be.
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Listen to the following episodes on Apple Podcasts by clicking the titles.
“The Most Potentially Destructive Influence in the Life of Your Child” (episode 42)
“Training Your Children to Rebel” (episode 43)
“Train Your Child to Stay with God” (episode 94)
“A Parent’s 5 Jobs, Part 5 | Trainer” (episode 188)
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Welcome to our final episode in this series!
It’s been a joyous experience for me, and I pray it’s been valuable for you.
Today should be a wonderful way to wrap up this series because it focuses on one of the most enjoyable parts of being a parent.
But we also must be wary. If we do this step incorrectly, we’ll set our kids up for destruction.
But, before we jump in, let me take a moment to thank Ray and Carolyn for sponsoring this episode.
You too can sponsor episodes by becoming a monthly Patron like Ray and Carolyn or by sponsoring one at a time. You can learn more at TruthLoveParent.com or by clicking the “5 Ways to Support TLP” link in the description.
Okay, let’s take the next steps in becoming a newer and better and more Christ-honoring parent this year.
1. Learn the Truth about Being a Training Parent.
I have three interesting resources for you today. Each discusses training from a different angle.
The first is episode 43, “Training Your Children to Rebel.” I’m sure you can tell from the title that this focuses on the fact that everything we do — good and bad — has the potential of training our kids if they choose to follow after our example.
This episode follows “The Most Potentially Destructive Influence in the Life of Your Child.” That would be a great episode to consider as well because it proves how we parents can be both the best and worst influencers in our kids’ lives.
Episode 94 is called “Train Your Child to Stay with God.” And I absolutely love this episode. I really do.
I believe we biblically and accurately answer a question that perplexes many parents.
As most of you know, Proverbs 22:6 reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Is that a promise or a proverb? Good men disagree. But I have to share this with you.
I once was going to have a Special Guest on the show and — knowing that he taught this verse different from me — I explained to him my position so we wouldn’t find ourselves in that awkward situation of him inadvertently un-teaching something I had taught.
Also, he is a very godly and accomplished teacher, ministry director, professor, and parent, and I was very interested in hearing what he had to say about the way I understood that verse.
After I shared it with him — even though he has always taught the opposite understanding of the passage — he said, “Your understanding of that passage makes perfect sense. When you interpret ‘train’ the way you did, I agree with your conclusions.”
That was so encouraging for me primarily because it confirmed that I wasn’t leading you astray, and because I was able to be a blessing to many people who have missed out on the deep richness of that passage due to a potential misunderstanding.
If you haven’t heard it or heard it recently, I suggest you ground your parenting deep in that Truth.
The last resource I’m going to share with you on this point is episode 188, “A Parent’s 5 Jobs, Part 5 | Trainer.”
Whereas the previous episode discusses a biblically accurate understanding of training, this episode digs into what training parents do.
I hope they’re a blessing to you because you can’t become what you don’t believe, and you can’t believe what you haven’t learned.
To that end, today’s free episode notes will be posted at TruthLoveParent.com on our blog, Taking Back the Family.
2. Believe the Truth about Being a Training Parent
Do you believe that teaching your kids isn’t enough?
Do you believe that there’s more to parenting than reproving your children?
Do you believe that your kids need to be cooperating with you in order to truly be trained?
Do you believe that if your kids have embraced your counsel that they’re ready to start their training?
Do you believe that training is far more than lectures and lessons?
Take some time to talk with God about this. Pour out your struggles and your limitations, but be quick to praise Him for His guidance, power, and grace.
This is the highest and most enjoyable form of parenting, so we must be serious about laying a solid foundation and building up our children to the glory of God.
3. Get Some Help Becoming a Training Parent.
I observed last time that getting your parenting community involved in your counseling can be difficult due to the private nature of most correction. And this category is very similar.
Training can be an intensive, almost formal type of parenting.
Training is a unique mix of teaching and counseling. It’s not just imparting knowledge, but it’s providing a structure so that the child is able to assimilate and apply the instruction in their own lives.
Picture it this way, if you have a personal health trainer, it doesn’t help for them to hand you one overarching goal of being physically fit and healthy. They need to break it down for you. In fact, the more detailed they get, the better the results are. If your trainer is walking you through all of your exercises — showing you how they’re to be done, scheduling them for you, and keeping you accountable to do them — if they’re preparing your meals for you, if they’re handing you the supplements you need to be taking, it will be nearly impossible for you to fail unless you flat-out refuse to participate.
But if you’re on board and participating in the training, there will be success.
So, with that view of training, you can see how it may be difficult for your accountability/mentor/discipler/friend/person to be around for those times.
However, allow me to give an example of training that your friends can experience if you have a life-on-life type of relationship.
Training need not always be a formal time. It really should be woven into the warp and woof of life. Here’s an example: Your child has shown that they are on page; they want to participate in their sanctification.
Let’s say that your friend and his or her kids are over, or maybe the whole family is there. Your child is having difficulty with the younger children; you can very easily turn it into a training moment.
Of course, you can do it the other way around as well. If your child is the younger one causing trouble for the older kids, you can do some training as well.
“What does that look like?” you ask. We’ll discuss that in the next point.
But before we move on from this, let me finalize this last third point of this series by recapping some important ideas about parenting community.
1. Let’s remember that God Himself is relational. He has relationships within His own nature, He desires a relationship with His creation, and He wants His creation to have relationships within His body.
2. Therefore, we need to fight our cultural isolationism.
However, we also need to fight our cultural superficial relationism.
It’s just as easy for people to literally hide from others in an attempt to keep their ugly parts covered as it is for others to hide in the spotlight.
When we band around activities and philosophical identities and all the inconsequential fads of our generation, we can live in community, but our relationships never really dig any deeper than our one-dimensional, freckle-level, facades.
Therefore, we need to pursue genuine, transparent, life-on-life relationships where people can see us for who we really are. We need to have those James 5 relationships where we can confess our sins to each other.
That type of accountability allows for genuine change to flourish in an environment of honesty and submission to the Scriptures.
3. Therefore you need to give permission to your friends to be Biblically honest about your parenting.
4. Schedule times where your families can get together where it’s not just the parents over here and the kids over here.
That’s okay some of the time, but you need to intentionally and premeditatedly schedule times where your families can live and interact with each other.
5. But also schedule times to just meet with your mentors and disciplers.
There need to be times that you can speak candidly and where you can pray and study and learn and talk.
Study a topic together, tackle a book of the Bible, draw a Timothy into your group and help him know the Lord better.
There are so many things we can do to lift each other up, but it’s all going to have to start by . . .
6. Get your head out of your rear-end.
I know, I know. The language. I’ve never said anything so base before.
But seriously. We have ourselves so convinced that we’d lose everyone’s respect if they saw us for who we are.
We’re certain that no one would understand us or our situation.
We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we absolutely no time to spare.
We’re positive that we’re not capable of helping anyone else.
We’re persuaded that we don’t need help.
My friends, I love you enough to tell you that you’re wrong.
We all need these relationships.
Now, there are legitimate times where the Lord has us in a place where there is no one to mentor us. Think of Joseph in Egypt. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t mentoring someone else.
There’s always someone else we can point toward Christ.
And, before we move to our last point of this series, let’s put all the pieces together: What I’m suggesting for your parenting community is identical to . . . a family.
It’s a group of people who love God and each other enough to work toward God’s best interest for the other people in the family.
This parenting community is more like an extension of your family. And when you achieve this kind of relationship where the walls come down and you truly love each other as Christ does, this group of people may become the most precious people in your life. People with whom you’d want to vacation. People with whom you’d be honored to share your life.
We need to know the Truth, believe the Truth, get help submitting to the Truth, and . . .
4. Make Small Changes as you Become a Training Parent.
I believe the key to being good trainer is . . . are you ready for this? We’re going to make full-circle here in about seven seconds.
The keys to being a good trainer are being intentional and premeditated.
Isn’t that beautiful? Now you can go back and listen to the start of this series and cycle back through. All of these character traits are woven together like a glistening spider’s web of eternal truth.
An Ambassador must make disciples by teaching, interpreting, counseling, and training. And they will never do any of those things well if they are not intentional and premeditated in their approach.
Unless we purposefully plan to train our children, we’ll be half-hearted and improvisational at best.
But if we put the time into figuring out what our children need and systematically walking beside them as they submit to the Holy Spirit, we will be their biggest ally in the war against sin.
1. So, if you want to become a Training Parent, you’re going to have to really buckle down on your intentionality and premeditation training.
Have you signed up for our “25 Days to Becoming a Premeditated Parent” course? It’s free, it’s only a click away, and we have counselors who are willing to help you through it.
Perhaps you could start creating your parenting community by asking some moms and dads to go through that study with you.
I know a lady in Dallas named Millye who does this with the ladies in her small group. That’s a tight-knit family right there. They’re a wonderful bunch of women who are sharpening each other as mothers and wives.
2. Ask your child to make a commitment.
I encouraged you to make a similar step when we discussed making disciples. Well, I didn’t really say it then, but Disciple-making is this step. We teach and we reinterpret and we counsel so that a person may finally surrender to Christ and choose to be His disciple. And then we can start training.
So, if your kids have made it to this level of maturity — they’ve proven as well as they can that their conversion is real by exhibiting genuine fruit of repentance — I would take them out for a quiet dinner at a nice restaurant and ask them if they would like to consciously engage in active and intentional discipleship training.
Of course, be honest with them that you have no idea what you’re doing, but you want to do it together and get as much help as you can.
I believe it would be beautiful.
I’ve often thought it would be cool to have a Father-Son retreat where we get away, do some really awesome and manly stuff, study God’s Word, and give each father and son an opportunity to have this conversation.
Facilitating that would be amazing.
If you think that’s something that you and your friends are ready for, send an email to TeamTLP@TruthLoveParent.com and let’s start a conversation about how we can make that happen.
3. Turn your lectures into liaisons.
A lecture is one-sided. A lesson requires the student to genuinely understand. But a liaison is a close bond or connection that invites another to participate in mutual cooperation.
How do you do this?
Well, if you truly want to train your children, you need to utilize all four parent jobs.
Specifically, you need to teach and interpret as you train. You provide them knowledge, lead them to understanding, and then give them opportunity to act on that knowledge in wisdom.
So, my child is excited to become more like her Lord, but she comes home from school one day absolutely broken because the girls in her class won’t have anything to do with her.
1. We need to teach (or remind) her what the Lord says about love, hate, friendship, the Gospel, being a light, persecution, and any other related topics we can find.
Of course, this doesn’t have to happen in one sitting, and hopefully you’ve spread these bread crumbs and laid these touchstones in your parenting as you’ve intentionally prepared for this moment.
2. You need to make certain that your lecture becomes a lesson by helping her see these Truths in light of God’s reality.
Package the lesson in a way that draws her understanding to the surface. Use illustrations, questions, parables, and whatever tools you have in your tool belt to help her genuinely comprehend the reality of God’s will.
3. Then you need to provide her actionable steps.
It’s not good enough to say, “Well, Sweetheart, you just need to love those girls.”
What on earth does that even mean?!
I can pretty much justify that it means I shouldn’t punch them in the face when they annoy me and then ignore them all day.
Your daughter is going to have to put some meat on the bones. This is where you become a liaison who facilitates her success. This is where you’re the trainer who’s figuratively right there next to her giving her step-by-step instructions, critiquing her form, encouraging her not to give up, and confronting her on her cheat days.
You’re going to have to formulate a plan that conforms to God’s will and is something that she can actually do.
Most of you remember the time my mom told me the next time that bully pushes me to the ground and sits on my chest I need to ask him if he wanted to be my friend.
My mom’s teaching became training when I actually followed her lead.
I know. I know. I know. It seems like I’m complicating this whole parenting thing.
The movies and sitcoms never made it seem this involved. Our own experience is often diametrically opposed to what I’m suggesting.
Can we admit that our parents were no more perfect than we? Can we realize that the example they set for us was just as flawed as the one we’re likely setting for our own children?
We can grow beyond the culture and our experiences. We can parent better not because we’re special or have access to some secret knowledge.
All we have to do is learn and believe what God’s says.
My friends, it has been an honor spending this time with you. I have learned so much.
I’ll be honest, it’s been hard writing these episodes because I’ve been so swamped with work and — in the New Year — I fell very far behind.
But I couldn’t let myself speed through the material. I preferred to post an episode late than throw something together without giving it due diligence.
We’d love to hear from you. Would you mind sending us an email and sharing what you’ve learned? You could leave a review on iTunes or a Recommendation on Facebook and let people know what the Lord taught you through this series.
I know TeamTLP and the other listeners of this show would love to hear how the Lord has worked in your life through this study.
Of course, it would be awesome if you shared this episode with your friends and your parenting community.
And now it’s time to get back into our regular episodes. Next time we’re going to revisit those resolutions and commitments we made in January and talk about how we’re doing. We’re also going to talk about how we’re helping our children with their New Year’s decisions.
Then after that I plan to discuss 2019 Parenting Trends.
I did a show like this last year and it was very revealing of the times, and I believe it helped us prepare to be intentional and premeditated as we lived and parented last year.
And then we’re going to continue through Season 9 discovering eternally relevant and practical parenting wisdom from God’s Word.
And I would be honored if you took this journey with us.
So, if you’re up to it, I’ll see you next time.
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