When builders in India illegally constructed a six-story structure in Rajasthan in 2010[i], they made many errors, not the least of which was using inferior materials. Inspectors had been called in to look at cracks in the building, and within minutes after their emerging from the structure, the entire building collapsed in a shower of cement, dust, and rebar! The footage of the sudden destruction was incredible! Amazingly, and thankfully, no one got hurt.
In the parenting process, it is easy for everything to look just right on the outside, but on the inside be built with inferior or unreliable materials. When the barricade is erected to keep the Devil out, it is imperative to use high-quality materials in the workmanship.
The most integral material we must use to build our barricade is the glue of consistency. Without it, we are playing with a strong possibility of the collapse of the family structure, and death of the residents of our home.
None of us is perfectly consistent; otherwise, we would be in Heaven. Still, there are many ways we can show consistency in our parenting. In my interviews with 2nd Generation Christians, I came up with 5 of them:
- Be faithful through the hard times.
“When I got older,” Brandon told me, “I often thought of my parents, and how consistent they were through trials and tribulations. They stayed true to what they taught, and I realized that if they could do it all these years, that’s what I wanted—even needed—to do.”
Joni and Friends and God is so Good Ministries are both excellent resources for suffering, difficulties, and hard times. Even if you have no one to walk the difficult road with you, don’t try to do it alone – get some encouragement online!
- Be consistent in discipline.
In Steve’s childhood it made a big difference. “My parents were definitely not lax,” he said. “They were very consistent. Whatever they said, that was the way it was. I don’t think they were harsh, because there was a lot of love, but rules were very consistent (dress, attitude, motives) yet implemented with love. They were enforced consistently, too, all the way through my youth, till I was out of the house.
Focus on the Family and The Better Mom are great resources for helping us be consistent in discipline. And don’t forget the good old-fashioned Bible, God’s Holy Word, which can guide us into all truth, and show us our weaknesses!
- Be consistent in your devotion to God.
Robbie said, “My dad preached about how important it is for a Christian to read his Bible and pray at the same time, same place every day. One week, I got up at 4:45 every morning to see if Dad was really reading his Bible like he said a Christian should, and sure enough, he was there—every single morning.” What you do speaks so much louder than what you say!
One of my favorite resources for Bible study is Bible.is, an app I downloaded to my Ipad that will read the Bible to me every morning. I also daily refer to Daily in the Word, where I get a great application of the Proverb of the day. Often I use my Olive Tree app and look up a commentary while I study, too.
- Don’t relax as the children become teens.
Brittany told me the story of a dear friend of hers: “I had one friend that I was especially close to. Consistency, or lack of it, was an issue. My friend’s mother ran the home, and her father was weak. So when the kids got older and didn’t want standards, the parents let them slip. Finally they got out of church altogether. Every once in a while I hear from my friend, and she’s having some pretty tough marital problems. I know that lack of consistency is at the root of it.”
Frontline Moms has been a real eye opener when it comes to my teens. Reading some of Lisa Cherry’s posts helps me realize that I can’t back off or shy away from the difficult topics with my young people, and I certainly can’t afford to be inconsistent with them.
- Don’t cater to a “favorite” child,
or let the youngest do something you wouldn’t let the other children do. “Inconsistencies in the parents kill spiritual desire in young people,” Larry said. “I’ve seen it many times. There are several ways parents can be inconsistent. Sometimes parents behave one way in church and another way at home, and sometimes they laugh at a child’s behavior one time, then spank him for the very same behavior later. But one of the most serious forms of inconsistency is when one parent wants the affection of a child and will undermine the other parent in order to win the child’s affection. We’ve seen it happen in our own home, and it was disastrous. Now that she’s older, our daughter simply dislikes both my wife and I, and is in an abusive relationship. It’s terribly heartbreaking.”
In essence, Larry was saying that those who try to win the affection of a “favorite” child do so because they themselves feel the need to be loved.
For me, the realization that no human can give me the affirmation that I truly need from the Lord is enough to help me not to seek it from my children. Neither they nor anyone else can do for me what God can.
Perhaps you’re like me, and you see areas where you need to shore up on consistency. I know I do. So I’m asking the Lord to help me be more consistent with my family. It may be a daily prayer, but that’s ok – I have a God who gives strength day by day!
Question: How important do you think consistency is for children? Can you think of any other areas where we can strengthen our consistency?
- I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us! This week I will probably not be posting anything, because I’m supposed to be on “vacation!” But if something really good pops in my mind… 😉
- Keep your eyes out for the upcoming release of my new book on this topic, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, coming in September! In this book, there will be:
- Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
- Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
- Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
- Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
- And much, much more!
If you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know! All you have to do when you’re done reading it is to post about it on your blog! Leave a comment here or email me, and I’ll get in touch with you. Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word, and Happy Wives Club Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum
[i]See the video here: www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/13/sixstory-building-collaps_n_715277.html