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October 28, 2013, 11:05 AM

Elevate, not Exasperate Part II

Last week we looked at Ephesians 6:4 and discussed ways in which we may unintentionally exasperate our children.  Frustration sets in when expectations, some realistic and some not so realistic, are unmet.  We all want what is best for our children—a vibrant relationship with the Lord, good health, solid character, and the disciplines that will lead them into God’s best for them.

One of the fastest ways to exasperate a child is to micromanage every move, correct each misstep, and point out all the areas he/she needs to improve. Children who are exasperated disconnect.  Frustration, rebelling, withdrawing, and "losing heart" are the unwanted fruits of exasperation.

But, God has not called us to exasperate, but to elevate, to “bring them up.”


"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Eph., 6:4, NIV).

God entrusts our children to us so we can nurture them to maturity—intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. Our goal is to help them find and fulfill God's design for their lives and to teach them about the character of Christ. We usually think of training and instruction as words, but words can end up exasperating our kids.

We must model what a fully-devoted life looks like and share this with our kids:

  • Not just the what, but the why
  • Not just the why, but the how of our faith.

Life isn’t always easy.  One of the best lessons we can teach our kids is:

Easy doesn’t necessarily = Good   &    Hard doesn’t necessarily = Bad.

Some of the best things we will ever do in life will be hard.  We should teach our kids that strong character will help them through tough times to stray true to Christ and His plan for their lives. That’s why we need to allow the Holy Spirit to develop godly character in our lives.  Jesus is our standard. The choices our kids make and the consequences they face are opportunities to talk to them about the character of Jesus. We must focus on the internal—what is going on inside the child—rather than external behavior.

When we do this we are teaching our kids "survival skills," as opposed to spending most of our efforts ensuring their survival. Too often, we attempt to ensure survival by rescuing, nagging or micromanaging, and we end up with children unprepared to face the world without us.  The illustration of the caterpillar and the cocoon testifies to this truth.  The caterpillar must work its way out of the cocoon to become the butterfly.

As parents, let’s redefine what it means to train and instruct our kids about the character of Christ.

Shaping hearts and minds,

Dr. Chris

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