Raising Good Kids

Raising Good Kids -  Lisa U Maki

Every parent wants his/her kid to grow up as a good person. Even the worst dads or moms would never want their children to end up like them. However, every parent also knows that it is no joke raising a kid to be a "good" person. We all know that there will always come a time in a person's life where he or she will get in trouble. As parents, we also know that we can only do so much to shield and protect our kids.
Raising a good kid starts by understanding what being good is all about. It is more than having proper manners or being polite and nice to others. It is also more than just going to church every Sunday. It is definitely more than getting good grades in school. Being good is knowing what is right and wrong and being able to choose right over wrong, despite the circumstances.
The question now is... who dictates what is right and wrong? Our society has become more permissible about things that used to be wrong. While gay relationships used to be a taboo, gay marriages are now being widely accepted. While sex before marriage was never even talked about during the time of my parents and grandparents, it is something that everybody is doing now in high school and even elementary.
We need a standard that can never be twisted, a standard that is strongly founded. And there is no other standard better than the standard that God Himself set, which is His Word, the Holy Bible.
Children will always ask "why". And if you say, "Because mom or dad says so", then when mom or dad fails in the eyes of the child, what "you say so" will not stand. Parents are not perfect. This is the reason why we need to point our kids to God and what His Word says. Children also look up to us as their role models. So if they are just looking at us all the time, they will get disappointed or confused. They have to understand that we are obeying SOMEONE higher than us when it comes to taking care of them and disciplining them. This way, we will also have a greater accountability because our children will then expect us to obey God's Word. In fact, having the Word of God as our standard allows our children to bring us back to the Word if they see that we are not aligned to what the Word says. This is not giving them authority over us but instilling in them "obedience" to God's Word.
Had I not been saved... had I not been reborn... had I not surrendered my life to Jesus, my sons would have grown up so lost, confused, and rebellious. My sons were a product of divorce and they saw how mom partied with her friends till the wee hours of the morning. They also saw mom smoking all the time and even knew that mom was sleeping with a man she was not married to, and who was still legally married to another woman.
I remember the time when, after I surrendered my life to Jesus, I also made the decision to separate from the man I was in a relationship with. I then talked to my sons and asked forgiveness and told them that what mom did was so wrong. Then my youngest who was around 6 or 7 at that time said, "Yes mom, it was wrong because you committed adultery. That kept me dumbfounded. My kid knew all along that mom was living in sin. He knew it better than me.
I will never forget those tears I shed just looking at my sons and hugging them after I asked for their forgiveness. I knew God was going to restore them. I knew it was not too late. That's when I began to use the Word of God as the only standard in raising my kids. It helped me not only to discipline and instruct them but also in our healing process.
My sons saw how my obedience to God's Word healed me thoroughly and completely. They saw how their mom changed from being a party-goer to being a church-goer. They saw how their career-oriented mother turned into a ministry-oriented mom. Most importantly, they saw how their mother's growing intimacy with Jesus transformed her into the woman that God created her to be.
Let me end this article by sharing with you a story about my youngest son, Rico, and how I used the Word of God to discipline him.
Rico was 8 years old at that time and he was writing something on a piece of paper. He then gave me the paper and told me to check the box of my choice and then sign my name. I don't remember what was exactly written on the paper but it was a multiple choice. I then checked the box and signed my name.
A few days later, I saw a corrected test paper in his school bag and saw that he got 0/10. He never gets a 0 on his tests. He was a consistent honor student. I don't remember seeing that test paper, until that time, let alone signing it. Yet there was my signature. Hmmmmm... the signature was in blue ink and I never use blue pen to sign anything. Then I remembered that paper I signed... that paper with a multiple choice. And I also remembered that he asked for a carbon paper from me around that same time as well.
I thought to myself, "He forged my signature... how can an 8 year old forge his mom's signature?" I felt so disappointed. Rico is the last person I would ever imagine doing something like that.
I prayed before I called him to the room. I asked God for wisdom. He then led me to these Scriptures...
Spare the rod and spoil the child. (Proverbs 13:24)
Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15)
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol. (Proverbs 23:13-15)
Discipline your son while there is hope, but do not (indulge your angry resentments by undue chastisements and) set yourself to his ruin. (Proverbs 19:18)
To summarize what God revealed to me from these Scriptures...
1. I have to spank my kid so I can drive out this foolishness from him. 

2. I am saving him from sin by doing this. 

3. I have to be careful that I don't vent out my anger on him.

I then called him and said... "I know what you did with this paper. You forged mom's signature. If I don't correct this now, you may end up in prison when you're older. (I explained to him its implications). You know that God wants us to obey His Word, right"? And he agreed with me. I told him to read the Scriptures and he did. Then I said, "If I don't follow that, then I am going to disobey God". I then got the rod (I used a wooden 12 inch ruler) and before I could do anything, he shouted and cried... "no mommy no!!!" I wanted to just forget about it but I had to obey the Word and I had to be consistent about disciplining him. I said "I have to spank you because God said so. I have to drive this foolishness from you. It is going to be painful now but it is going to be more painful if I don't do this. This is also not easy for mom". He controlled his tears and surrendered to the discipline. I also surrendered to God.
I am blessed to have a husband who also raises his stepson, Rico, (my eldest is already 24 and doesn't live with us) in the way that I have raised him... in the Word of God. At 15, Rico knows God's Word and understands that it is the only standard he should use. The Word has been his ultimate guide. Each time we correct him, we bring him back to the Word. And we also encourage him to do the same to us if he sees mom or dad not living the Word. 
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