The Heavenly Father “GENTLY leads those who are with young” (Isaiah 40:11). It is a promise. You can bank on His gentleness toward you, no matter what. A mother can always flee to Him and find Him full of tender mercies toward her. He never withdraws His presence or His love, no matter how badly she feels she just muffed up during the last ten minutes.
The shepherd king, David, said in Psalm 18:35, “Thy GENTLENESS hath made me great.” Repeated exposure to the gentleness of the Heavenly Father, in the end, had a refining effect upon David. Gentleness is the primary agency through which He sanctifies us. It is His trait of choice for making His children great.
So, too, in our parenting. In the beginning we represent God to our children. It is their first taste of Him. Therefore, it is very important that we parent in a similar manner. Our children must come to be able to BANK on our gentleness with them—that the lap and heart are always open—that they find that we emanate a steady, nurturing way with them, that we are encouraging, uplifting, and offering positive life-giving phrases to them. We must become a SURE place to run to for them. Our children must feel no tentativeness, no iffyness, in coming to us. Their past exposures to our behaviors must build their confidence in how we will be with them today—and all of our interchanges today become the immediate past.
The Heavenly Father is not a poor investor. He refines us by requiring us to refine our children. If we have a rough patch (and all families have them) we must hastily return to the path of positive nurture. “A righteous man falls seven times, and rises again” (Proverbs 24:16 NASB). We get renewed by immediately looking at Him. Repeated reflections upon HOW He parents us results in parenting in like manner. After a squabble, swiftly return to loving—even in your next sentence. Moms wield a power to allow no half-hours of brooding between anybody. Maintaining short accounts keeps the household atmosphere clear.
Getting our children under control and disciplining them is only the foundation. Next, we must turn all of our vital energy towards gaining the heart, or we will lose their heart when they reach adulthood. It is steadily, consistently won by positive phrases, day in and day out. Their perception must be that:
• Mom makes life all better.
• Mom is warm.
• Mom is my favorite place to be.
• Being with mom is the best.
• I would rather be with Mom than anywhere else.
• Mom makes our home happy.
• I want to tell Mom everything, because she smiles at me so much and she makes me feel good about myself and my life.
Therefore, Mom must incrementally build her house, sentence by sentence, all through the years. She begins with the desired end in view: to have her children want to live right next door when they grow up and marry, because they absolutely love being around Mom, rather than wanting to move far from her.
Sentences like these build a home:
• You did that so well!
• My ______ makes his brother feel happy.
• I love being with you.
• Wow! Today you remembered to latch the gate.
• You funny fellow.
• Come with me. I have something exciting to show you. [It could be a bird pecking at a worm.]
• Come here and let me look at you closer, you dearling.
• You are our very own. How could we be so blessed?!
• Obedience brings blessing. You have a blessing just around the corner, after you pick up your room.
• Go be like Jesus to your sister…she needs you.
• Show us how to do it, you tiger.
• The neighbor will be so glad that you came to help her. She will never have had a helper as conscientious as you.
• We would have a big hole in our family, without your outstanding ability to .....
• I need you.
• You just showed Jesus to your father by the way that you came to his aid.
On and on it goes towards building a happy home. Joy, humor, laughter, hugs, smiles all add to a winning mix.