(Note: A downloadable PDF copy of this lesson is available on the last page.)
“In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.” Acts 24:16 NASB.
“I want to be the best parent that I can possibly be”–this is no doubt the heart cry of everyone who begins this course. We say this, thinking back over a multitude of incidents that make up the history of our families. Some of them were funny when they happened; others were funny only as we looked back at them. Still others were gravely serious. Some were puzzling.
A family was entertaining an important guest at dinner. The youngest child, a happy-go-lucky, mischievous girl of four, addressed the guest, “Hey mister, pass the salt or I’ll get mad.” What do you do when this happens? Do you laugh or do you cry? Do you ignore it or do you make an issue of it?
Then there are the times when mother is certain that the children should wear jackets and dad is just as certain that mother is unreasonable.
Or there are times when the family is entertaining a family of missionaries who have just returned from five years on the field. The son has always been generous with his bicycle. Anyone could use it. To the parents’ consternation, the boy refuses to let any of the missionary children ride it.
On the other hand, you have the minister and his family over for dinner, and your three children who have been noisy and active all day long are “perfect angels” throughout the entire evening.
There are months on end when husband and wife get along beautifully; and then, out of the clear, blue sky, there are frequent disagreements. For weeks they suffer this way; and then, just as mysteriously, things clear up.
This is the ebb and flow, the fascination, the never-ending variety, the multitude of moods that make up family living. How can we do our part better? It is our prayer that this course will put you on the proper pathway.
In order to be the kind of parent you want to be, you must first be the kind of person you ought to be. To do so, you must (1) be willing to understand, appreciate, and use your strong points; (2) with true humility, be willing to identify your weaknesses and seek to strengthen them; and (3) aspire to be the kind of partner that will contribute your share to a mutually satisfactory marriage. It is such experience that will allow you to enter the gates of parenthood, and go on to build your wholesome personality into the lives of your children as you lead them to the Source of power that has been your strength, even God Himself.
You must first be the kind of person who has found a personal, inner peace. You must be at peace with yourself. The pathway to personal peace is clearly marked for you in the Bible.
To follow the teaching of the Bible is to become an adequate, peaceful person.