Women of Reverence welcomes Kurt Davis as a guest blogger for the Fathers Day Month.
Kurt Davis is husband to Shannon and together blessed with three children (two boys and a beautiful girl). Kurt is the Lead Elder at Frontline People Church and serves on the NCMI Global Apostolic Team.
He is passionate about sports and enjoys road running. He loves teaching the Word of God and raising leaders.
Please forgive me if I meander back and forth as I navigate this topic, trying to give advice on parenting. This is one of the most daunting jobs God has given to mankind. It's one thing leading yourself, but it's a whole new ballgame having the responsibility to shape and mould a pure, innocent mind that learns from your every move, every day! They see you when you’re good and when you’re bad. Our children are like pure, white sponges – soaking up everything we surround them with.
With all this being said, the world, too, is surrounding our perfect, pure, spotless little lambs, so this becomes a double task: on one hand, you’re trying to be a good parent and on the other, you’re trying to protect them from the filth of the world. We know that temptations are part of life – they are also barraged with the same temptations, daily. So the first question for me is, do they know how to cope with what they are capable of, mentally and spiritually? For some parents, they protect their precious little sponges from anything and everything, for as long as possible.
For me, it was clear in my devotions with God to prepare them for the world – not to separate them from it. So, the first thing we did as parents was to introduce them to Jesus, obviously, right? The funny thing is that; that in itself is different for each parent too! For me, a few key issues surrounding this are: 1. As early as possible, teach your kids to know, love and feel the Lord's presence; this way, He becomes a person to them, like a parent. From the beginning, we have taught our kids to have their devotions. I have read the Bible to them and often do quiet times with them. They learn to prophesy, pray for the sick in the house and intercede for us. They do know Jesus well, personally. When they disappoint Him, they will feel it and it will cause them to feel remorse without me telling them to. They are still learning consistency in seeking Him, of course; they are human like us. 2. I have not fully protected them from every single temptation. For example, I didn't take the ornament off of the coffee table – I taught them not to touch it. If they did, they got a warning and then if they tested me, I would immediately discipline them (a small flick on the fingers or whatever was appropriate). Obviously, this was when they could understand, which I can tell you is much younger than most parents would agree. Television and the internet is clearly the next serious temptation. I don't put locks on our phones or keep them from searching the net (they are ages 5,8 and 10). I do believe in teaching them to be responsible. So I do check history from time to time. If they have failed, I point them back to Jesus and help them to see what they did was wrong. We must trust them and teach them to be trustworthy. 3. I believe in being strict from the beginning and then loosening the grip as they learn their boundaries. Many parents reason with a two-year old and then, later, try to discipline a teenager. I believe this is disastrous. 4. I believe that honesty is of utmost importance: I do let them decide to tell the truth or to lie. I do warn them that their punishment will be more severe if they are caught lying. I often let them off the hook if they are honest. Sometimes they still receive discipline if they have been honest – I vary it so that they never really know how I'll respond. I believe that Jesus’ character is similar, so that way we don't become despondent if we don't get the same response every time. Obviously, I don't let them get away with lying very easily unless they come clean by themselves before I know about it. That's precious to me, because it doesn't happen too often… lol. 5. As far as consequences for actions go, as a father, I try to let them off the hook every now and then, especially when they don't deserve it. Shan (MY WIFE) will say I never let them off the hook; she's much softer. It also helps them understand God's mercy. Often, I'll hear the Spirit say to me in moments that He would have acted a certain way, and then I’ll ask Him to lead me in a different response. That’s most effective, as He knows the best way. 6. Almost every day, I assess my parenting. Remember, being flexible is extremely important when raising children. We are human and make so many mistakes. We need to be conscious of that and constantly ask God for help in convicting us to make changes. I’ll often be awake at night after everyone has gone to bed, and the Spirit will do His work in me, clearly highlighting my wrong actions. Then, in the morning, I'll go to my kids and ask them for forgiveness if I've missed the mark. 7. I have felt to prepare them for future temptations too. Future temptations include: rebellious behaviour as a teen, drug abuse and sexual temptation, etc. I use current cases we are dealing with at church to teach them lessons, like a person who is homeless due to drug abuse and alcoholism. I will get the kids involved in helping them and ask them to speak to the kids from time to time.
In a nutshell, I would have to say that parenting is on the forefront of my mind; I see many pastors put it far down on their list of priorities. This is a huge mistake. I believe our children will reflect our relationship with God. They are our legacy, our personal project – they must be prioritized every single day. As a family, we are not perfect; often, I make more mistakes than they do. I ask them to speak into my life too, giving them an opportunity to vent and to give perspective. Wow, they can be intuitive. Mostly, I believe as parents we need to get into their worlds; we need to get out of our boxes and get into theirs. I often get alone time with each one and ask questions, then wait for them to open up and speak their hearts.
Parenting is not a perfect science, it's a journey. You are an infant, as they are, in this job, learning each day how to raise them. Ask a couple or two to speak into your parenting, ones you trust to give a fair analysis, and let them help you see mistakes from the outside. This will help your kids! I could go on but I hope this helps a little for younger kids. I haven't got teens yet, so I'll be asking questions and learning from some of you who have, and be a good student… I hope!