Raising children Biblically… really easy to think about and considerably more difficult to put into practice. We need the Lord’s help to be Godly parents who raise Godly children.
In honor of her 22nd birthday this week, please let me describe my beautiful daughter. I have two nicknames for her: Gator and Nimrod. Both sum her up pretty well. From early in her life, she has used a lot of words. These words help significantly in communication. It allows us to hear how she thinks. Sometimes that’s the confusing part. I have a lot of memories of her that are funny. But I also have the knowledge that she worries about things.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” – Proverbs 31:25
Early in her life, if we went anywhere, she wondered if she could reach the door handles, could she find the bathroom, and many other details that would occupy her mind. She still worries about those things, and I love it when she says them out loud. Aly has no filter, and I am thankful for that. She will talk to us about anything—ugly truth is better than pretty lies is what we call it. She also told me that when she was mad at me, she would imagine what it would be like to wrap her hands around my throat and choke me a little.
Every Child Is Unique
She used to put on what she would call “silly shows.” After supper, she would act out things, sing, and get into full costume. She had an impression of a mother and baby gazelle that I would pay to see right now. Her wardrobe choices were always unique. She once cut the waistband out of a skirt because she wanted to use it as a headband.
There was the time she walked into the front room at around 10:00 pm. I had just arrived home from work, and she had a complaint to register. In high school, she said, and picture this with a full-on stance of attitude, “Mom said if I put my laundry in the basket she would wash it and I have nothing to wear tomorrow! And I know, I’m going to my room.” I never got a word in, but I laughed for 30 minutes.
She also once said in consecutive sentences while arguing with her mom, “I’m a 20-year-old grown woman! Mom can you help me take my makeup off?” That’s the Nimrod.
We go on a date every week and have done so for around 15 years. I love it. I realize that she will be too old and too busy one day, but we have had some fantastic conversations, and we have laughed. She still makes me laugh more than anyone else, and she knows how to laugh as well. She throws her head back and lets it go, like a real moment of joy – that’s Aly.
We are both stubborn, or maybe I should say committed. Sometimes Aly and I will argue, and it drives my wife crazy. But soon, one of us will say something like, “I’m sorry you were stupid.” We laugh, and peace is restored. The first time I met her boyfriend, I told him that Aly would throw herself into the firepit we were sitting next to if it would keep someone she loves from feeling pain. I wasn’t exaggerating. I have seen her endure things that would make some people give up or start blaming the world. She has done neither.
Raising Children Biblically
From an early age, if I said, “I am proud of you,” she would respond, “For what?” Her love language wanted nothing to do with blanket statements. What she wanted was for me to know her well enough to have the capacity to be specific. Half-hearted relationships do not appeal to her. My wife and I talked about making sure that we did not overprotect her after Jordyn died. Aly needed the same freedom without an additional burden from us. She has also felt pressure to be like Jordyn in some areas but purposefully tried to do things her way. She has been successful. She has been marked by her sister’s loss and her brother’s issues, but neither defines her. Although both have shaped her, she is so much more than those things. Her best story is in front of her, and we are looking forward to watching it unfold. She is as committed to what drives her as anyone I know. If you want to keep up with her, then get your rest and pack a lunch. You will need both. I am proud of her for that. She has taught me what it feels like to love someone so much it hurts.
Here’s why I just wrote this blog article about my daughter and had you read it. I hope it made you considering raising children Biblically. I also hope you’ll observe several things:
- We need to know our children intentionally.
- Our children can be so different from each other.
- Children can be frustrating, but they’re one of life’s greatest joys.
- We can thank God for how’s molded our children.
- Teach them Christ