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Rooting Your Child in Love

“I love you, Mama!” The seven year old little guy sent out his love message to his mom in the driver’s seat. I glanced to the back and saw his big grin. This was about the third time that day I’d heard his unsolicited shout-out of love. We’d enjoyed several hours of adventure together, his mom, twin sister, and I, and throughout the day I’d witnessed two children very “rooted and grounded in love.”

I’ve known these little ones since they were in their mother’s womb, so I’ve had an up-close opportunity to see how love has shaped their lives. They came into the world just like any other children—with lots of need. Crying was their most frequent form of communication for the first several months. But love was the controlling theme of their lives.

Love Formed Through Truth

Their mom and dad love them so much that they started pouring Scripture into their hearts and minds from day one. They’ve loved their little ones by teaching them that sitting under the regular teaching of the Word is not an option; it is a non-negotiable priority, even if it means choosing church over a swim meet. Growing in the Word together as a family isn’t a box they check—it’s the routine of their daily lives.

Love Demonstrated Through Sacrifice

I watched Parker and Claire’s mom make some hard choices so she could keep them on a secure routine when they were babies. She never showed resentment, exhaustion—yes, resentment—no. Her love and devotion was obvious. Their dad gave up an opportunity for a coaching position because he knew it would take him from home too much in the evenings while they were little. They’ve chosen to make raising godly children a higher priority than their careers.

Love Shared Through Discipline

We were in a small group prayer meeting with all adult women last week and Parker and Claire were in the room with us. Their mom gave them instructions to sit quietly, read their Bibles or work in their journals (they’re seven-year-olds, remember!), and wait patiently until our prayer time was over. They never spoke, they prayed when we prayed, worked in their journals, and waited patiently. At the end of the meeting, one of the moms said, “My eleven year old could never do that! He wouldn’t sit still like that for ten minutes!”

Parker and Claire didn’t magically become well behaved children . . . it isn’t by accident that they are able to sit quietly or obey their parent’s instructions (believe me they can be loud and playful when that’s appropriate!). Their parents have been very intentional in laying out instructions and requiring obedience (and delivering appropriate discipline when disobedience occurs). Consistently. CONSISTENTLY.

Love is Consistent Even When You’re Tired

Consistency in providing clear instructions and backing it up with loving discipline has been a primary element as they’ve rooted their children in love. A child that is allowed to run wild, receives no training, has no consequences, is free to do what he wants . . . is an unloved child. Parker and Claire understand the difference between obedience and disobedience and they know (by consistent experience) that painful consequences follow disobedience. They know that obedience isn’t just outward, it begins in the heart. They know that their parent’s discipline is showing them real love.

Introducing your children to God’s love begins with consistently demonstrating love to them moment by moment. You will “root your children in love” by living out truth, making daily sacrifices, and consistently applying godly discipline.

[box]And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17b–19)[/box]

How are you “rooting your children in love?” Can you provide some practical tips for young moms to help them be consistent?