When I was born in 1951 the ‘Traditional Family” consisted of a married couple with one or more children living under the same roof and in the same household. The father was the provider who went to work while the mother stayed at home. Due to the major socio-cultural changes of the past several decades, however, a great diversity has emerged and now the traditional family accounts for less than 15 percent of American households.

In real life, in big cities and in smaller towns, a family unit consists of single moms, single dads, stepfamilies, boyfriends and girlfriends raising children, foster parents and grandparents giving guidance to their grandchildren etc. In real life, in 2017, families come in many different forms.

With the changing times and shifting foundations, it’s difficult for parents to know how to raise children. That’s why the Word of God is so helpful to those looking for priceless, ageless and changeless truth. His words about family development and instruction for children have not changed since their inception and still provide solid and sound directives.

In Proverbs 22:6, parents are instructed to train up their children in the way they should go.

Training involves three specific components:

The first area has to do with INSTRUCTION. Our children need to know the truth about God and their own personal identity. Parents will help their little ones if they talk to them about God’s plan and purpose He has in-store for them. A parent will prepare a child if they honestly talk to them about life and death – The agony of defeat and the joy of success – the up’s and down’s of life and principles that will position them for success down the road. Talking to and with our kids will help them know they don’t stand alone.

The second significant area is EXAMPLE. Children develop in a healthy way when parents resist the philosophy that says: “Do as I say and not as I do”. Our children need role models who are willing to live out what they say; ones who show it first and then say second. We all make mistakes and fall short of perfection but living a hypocritical life with a dual standard will not produce the results we all desire for our children.

DISCIPLINE is the third component. Proper discipline will teach children the concept of boundaries and respect. When a child is guided and guarded by the parent, he or she feels a sense of security and safety, which in turn produces lasting results. Maybe you remember the term ‘Latchkey Kid.’ It referred to the children who were left alone to discipline and fend for themselves while both parents were out doing what they deemed necessary. It wasn’t a positive thing.

Throughout human history, the family has been the foundation of society. Strong family ties provide us with the love, security and safety we need for a fruitful life. Children grow into well-adjusted adults through instruction, example and discipline.

The days of the traditional family are long gone but it’s not too late to develop strong family ties. Whether you are a single mom, a single parent, a blended family or a grandparent raising your grandchildren – You can have strong family ties.

This proverb shows the way. It is not a promise, principle or precept but it has long lasting ramifications to those who practice it.

Pastor Tim Howard is the lead pastor at Koinonia Church. Any comments can be sent to: tim@kcfchurch.org.

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