Parenting is Discipleship

Parents, don’t provoke your children in a way that ends up discouraging them.  Colossians 3:21

Love and Lordship in Focus…Parenting, i.e., discipling our children requires that we live our lives as disciples of Christ so that it aligns with what we are teaching them. They will catch much more by our example than by what we teach them.

As we continue to explore parenting (discipling) our children according to God’s design, let’s look at three opportunities for parents to disciple and train their children in line with God’s Word. These are not exhaustive or all-inclusive but they will give you some direction and ideas to implement in your family and parenting.

1) “Family Time” (“when you sit around the table, when you lie down and when you rise up”) – meals together, devotionals, family worship, etc. – all of these offer excellent times for stories, family history, recaps of the day, and provide great chances to go deeper in laughter, tears and emotion and especially in teaching and building character and relationships.

Don’t miss or take for granted these times when you can set aside the pressures and stresses of your day and the world and talk, listen to, enjoy and encourage each other through laughter and tears in serious and fun conversations.

2) “Along the Road” – school/team trips, road trips, vacations, drive time, appointments, other – more opportunities to focus the conversation through updates on school events, friends, teams, etc., and include character and relationship development.

Take the times to engage in and be intentional and involved as you can in as many of the activities that are going on in your children’s lives. Also, be careful not to live your life through them and/or sign them up for every sport, activity or event on the calendar, as the enemy will use this to destroy your family as well. Balance your time and be intentional about being present with them.

3) “Milestones” – special times and events, Rites of Passage, Passing on a Blessing, others – Focus on God’s design and order, including Jewish culture of Biblical times and young adulthood at 12 (female) and 13 (male) years of age (Jewish bat or bar mitzvah) with mature adulthood at 30 years of age (Jesus honored this in launching His Public Ministry at age 30 – Sermon on the Mount)…even though He stumped the religious leaders at age 12 prior to being recognized as a young adult. 

a. Rites of Passage – Family Crest or Symbol captured and given in some way to children along with family and friends’ letters of encouragement and challenge for each child at young adulthood

b. Ongoing discussions at age-appropriate times (beginning as early as age 3 with respect for body parts, etc.) about bodies, sexuality and relationships…again don’t let your past guilt or shame stop you from sowing seeds of righteousness, integrity and purity into their lives. Let His forgiveness, freedom, Truth and Love shine through you as parents and be passed onto their children.

c. Letters or encouragement of some kind from you as parents as they move on through life… graduations, jobs, successes, moving out on their own, engagement, marriage, etc.

Discipling Our Children in The Lord – Some Insights

In order to do all of this effectively and with God’s blessing we need to develop disciplines (guidelines and boundaries) in line with God’s Word. Punishment, as we discussed in last week’s article (, and whenever possible, comes after talking with your children as to the motives and heart issues. Children will often come up with a harsher punishment than you will because they have to talk and think through the state of their heart that led to their disobedience or sinful actions.

As parents you can then encourage them to receive the loving punishment without grumbling or complaining (Philippians 2:14-15…this is good for all of us as adults throughout our life to shine His Light in a dark world). Remember, they have already recognized the sin in their heart and come up with their own punishment, at least to some degree so they are able to better accept what is taking place and why this loving action is needed in their life. As appropriate you can then show them “grace” by giving back or reducing the punishment before the time frame that they had set on themselves—helping them to see and experience truth (disciplines and punishment) and grace (receiving something back or reducing their punishment “before” they deserved it).

One other thing you can do that our children told us was very powerful in their growth as young adults and in Christ. We recognized significant moments in their lives (birthdays, graduations, special awards, moving out on their own, etc.) with special celebrations with just that child which would include a letter outlining what we had observed in them on their path to that moment, encouragement for the next phase of their life and Godly wisdom to help guide them.

I hope these will help you as you continue to disciple your children in and for The Lord to shine His Light for His Glory (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21).

Special Milestones

One of the most impactful special moments took place for each of our children upon the occasion of their 13th birthday. We developed a ring that included the Williams Family Crest. When I played basketball in Ireland someone in the Tourism department researched our family name. They presented me with a silver platter with our crest and motto related to our name – Williams in Gaelic means “Wisdom in Strength.” How daunting…and awesome is that?

The crest on the ring was the centerpiece and on each side we had engraved a Scripture; on one side was “Proverbs 9:10” which states, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” On the other side was “Philippians 4:13” which reads, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” “Wisdom in Strength.”

That event laid a path before them to both encourage and challenge them to walk in the Wisdom and Strength that only comes from The Lord. I pray the same for you and your children. What will you do to help them grow in Him?

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – Parenting is discipleship! Above all else it is training and growing our children in Christ, in God’s Word and in The Holy Spirit…and the much more is caught by how we are living our lives than taught by what we say. As parents who desire integrity in our lives and our children, make sure your life and words align.

Love in Action

  1. Read the Scriptures in this article. Ask The Holy Spirit to show you how to parent your children to be disciples of Christ.
  2. Identify “Family Times,” “Road Times” and Milestones in your family and children’s lives.
  3. Come up with ways to recognize how you can make the most of the opportunities in your list from 2) above.

Regardless of whether you’ve done this to date or not, now is a great day to start for the sake of your children and generational discipleship.

Love and Lordship Prayer Focus…Heavenly Father, help me to look to You as I encourage and challenge my children to grow into responsible adults as they first and foremost grow as disciples of Christ. In His Name. Amen.