Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Basics of Building a Braveheart

The comics on New Year's Day show the New Year as a baby with a diaper, toddling forward and not burdened like the old man who teeters away with the old year.  The baby is simple, unmarred and full of hope.

Perhaps the best way to start the year for Building Bravehearts is to start with the basics, a simple toddler of ideas, not burdened.  One of my favorite quotes is from Fred Rogers:  "Life is simple and deep.  We make it complex and shallow."  What is simple and deep for building bravehearts?

There are only a handful of passages in the Bible that directly tell parents how to parent.  I am convinced that if we get a grip on these simple and deep ideas, we will build bravehearts who become the people God intended.

What are these basic passages for parents?

Colossians 3:21:  "Fathers do not exasperate your children that they do not lose heart."

This passage is the premise of Building Bravehearts.  The opposite of a lost heart is having heart.  Courage.  A braveheart.  Something children have that should be protected and encouraged, but can be lost.

Ephesians 6:4: "And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." 

"Bring them up" is a phrase used of a nursemaid, someone nurturing, relational, intentional, and caring.  When we bring our children up, it is in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  Discipline is rooted in discipling and relationship.  Instruction involves words and truth.  This is a passage predicated on parents being there for their children with time, energy, and investment.  Children learn security and strength needed for courage when brought up this way.

Deuteronomy 6:1-25 (largely repeated in Deuteronomy 11):  "Now these are the commandments, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged." 

Notice that the beginning of helping children fear the Lord is that parents "do them," not just know the words, but use them in life so we can model  to our children.  After the part quoted above, the passage continues by telling parents to love God with all our being, to put the words on our hearts first, to teach them to our children day and night, to share them, and to remember who has blessed us.  Courage comes from seeing real faith by parents lived out and then hearing the stories of God's power in life.

There are several Proverbs, mostly on discipline, such as 19:18, "Discipline your son while there is hope" and 13:24, 22:15, and 29:15.  Discipline is part of unconditional love. It gives boundaries which paradoxically allows freedom and security.  Done well, discipline is a powerful tool to train children. Discipline helps courage not be foolish, but to be wise steps of faith in the face of fears.

Maybe you have other basics.  But, out of all of Scripture, these stand out as directions for parents on parenting.  Begin here.  They are really pretty simple.  And, very deep.

Going to the basics is a great way to begin the New Year.  We'll dress up that little New Year baby with other ideas and watch it grow as we go along.  But, let's not lose sight of the handful of directions God gives.  All other thoughts we explore should build on these.  The truths in these passages will help your braveheart grow well.  They are worth your attention.

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