【DAY 1】A Wonderful Family Life—Having Love Means Great, Having God Means High Quality
Welcome to this series of courses on parenting our children. The general topic of this course is “What then shall this little child be”. We have seen that much of what they will be is determined by the family life and the parent-child relationship. This series of courses aims to help and perfect parents to raise and nurture their children in a way that is more profitable for the Lord and for them. The goal is to cultivate children with an upright character and morality, and a (dignified) personality. The courses are geared toward those who are parents, who will become parents or guardians of children and those who serve the children.
Have you ever wondered what will happen to the child that is being formed in your womb, the one resting in your arms, riding on your shoulders, holding your hand and standing by your side? What he or she will be in the future compared to how he or she is right now. There is an old Chinese saying that says, “You can see how a person’s adulthood will be when he is little, and how his older years will be when he is three years old”, Childhood is the most important period of life and it lays the foundation for how a person will be in the future. Many psychological qualities and characteristics in adulthood are closely related to those in their childhood. This depends not only on innate characteristics but also on environmental factors, in particular the environment given by parents and families being the most important. These two things will help them form a good character and a dignified personality. How your child is today and what your child’s relationship with you is will largely determine his or her future.
Since we are concerned about our children’s future, we must care about their childhood right now. It is of the utmost importance to give our children the right upbringing and nurturing during their childhood, to give them the right environment for their growth, so that they will have a good character, an amiable disposition and honorable personality.
There are two key factors here. One is a good family life and the other is a high-quality parent-child relationship. Family time is the time when parents and children come together for meal time, having a family home meeting, playing board games or taking walks and visiting places. During these times the parents have the opportunity to build up a high quality relationship with each child.
How would you define the adjectives “wonderful” and “high quality”? Do they refer to expensive food, name brand clothing, a good nights sleep- and having a lot of fun activities? No, that is not our definition here. Good material conditions may not necessarily issue in a wonderful family or a high quality parent child relationship. I would like to share my experience growing up to give you an idea of what we mean by these terms.
I grew up in a rural area in Henan, China. At that time resources were very scarce. I was raised in a Christian family, a family of faith, and these brought pressure from all sides. We lived through faith by prayer during various hardships when we were young. Every night the whole family would sit together and pray one by one. No prayer, no sleep. Every morning before dawn, our mother would wake us up one by one to pray.
Now that several decades have passed, I began to wonder how, in that age of suffering and persecution, could all five siblings be saved and all of us love the Lord? It is because my mother was faithful to wake us up every morning, one by one, and pray with each of us. That pray time established a very solid and sweet parent child relationship with each of us. She not only prayed for the difficulties we encountered each day in school, such as being bullied, persecuted, insulted or beaten, but she also put us each in the hands of the Lord and taught us to trust in and look up to the Lord.
Looking back at those years we did not have very good food, expensive toys or anything that would be considered enviable by others materially. However, fifty years have passed and to this day l still have a deep impression within that my childhood was a wonderful and sweet time.
I can testify that the main ingredient for a wonderful family life is love. lt doesn’t matter if a family is poor or rich, if the children have expensive toys or a few inexpensive toys or good food. lf parents have the proper love for their children the family life is wonderful. I can also testify that to have a high-quality parent child relationship means to have God in it. From the beginning to the end my family had God and a life of pray in it and it made all the difference.