It's hard to be a parent nowadays. And it's even harder to be a Christian parent. From the widespread use of the internet and smartphones to the unbiblical agenda culture pushes on young people, it can be confusing to know how to protect our children. Thankfully, there are Spirit-led experts like my friend Dave Welday who can offer trusted advice on how to parent in a godly way in today's evil culture.
In fact, people have found Welday's insight so helpful that he wrote a parenting book called Shaping Your Family Story. In this book, Welday and co-author Dr. James Coffield encourage imperfect parents and teach them how to create hope and promise for their children.
I invited Welday onto my "Strang Report" podcast to share some of his valuable insights. He tells me that he has met plenty of overworked, overwhelmed moms and dads who desperately want to raise their children well but are scared because they feel inadequate. Thankfully, Welday has some simple, applicable tools to help parents see their children step into what God has for them.
"The whole book, Shaping Your Family Story, is built on five parenting principles: reflecting, directing, correcting, protecting and connecting," Welday says. "... As it turns out, there are five core elements of every story: plot, character, setting, theme and conflict. And when I got to thinking about it, our families are a story."
Some parents might think, Well that's nice, but how do I shape my family's story when our radically ungodly culture is trying to indoctrinate my children? Welday has an answer for that:
"It sounds very noble and it sounds very common in the culture today to say, 'I'm raising my kids to be whatever they want to be. You can be anything you want to be.' But you know what, that's not biblical! The Bible says in Psalm 139 that all the days ordained for your son, your daughter, were written in God's book before one of them came to be. So instead of raising my kids to be whatever they want to be, I'm raising them to discover who they were destined to be."
With that mindset, parents can exemplify and teach their children biblical principles that can then govern their kids' lives—even when those biblical principles aren't popular in common culture.
It's up to parents to put that idea into practice in the home, though. For example, Welday says, when raising toddlers, parents often put baby locks on the doors so kids can't harm themselves with dangerous items or products. But there's a different kind of protection parents must first foster in the home atmosphere.
"So we look at all of the different ways that we can be proactive in creating a safe environment where kids are not insulated, but they have the ability to thrive," he says. "And that's important. So it's not just about sheltering or shielding them from everything. But it's just like an immune system. Your own immune system works best. And when it does work, you fight off disease, because there's always going to be things coming against you.
"So it is with your kids. There will always be negative influences coming against them. You can't shield them from all that. But you can give them the tools to thrive and resist them properly."
Welday also offers some practical help for parents when dealing with conflict in the home. First of all, he points out, discipline is actually an act of love—provided it's not done in an abusive way. Just as we as adults can't be successful unless we have discipline, so it goes with children.
"The way I learn discipline and to have a disciplined life is because I was disciplined as a child. So discipline is not just punishment for bad behavior, but it is actually an act of love that's sowing into your kids' character value that they need to be successful in life."
Welday even says when parents withhold appropriate discipline, it stops children from being all that God called them to be.
"Again, it's just looking at discipline from a different perspective than maybe how the world sees it."
Listen to the full podcast episode to hear more valuable insights from Welday. And if you like what you hear, be sure to share the article with a friend and check out Welday's book on Amazon. God has called us to be good stewards of our children—no matter how dark our culture gets.
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