“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

To be “pure in heart” means to have a single focus. In parenting, that single focus should be training our children to love God and love others. Unfortunately, maintaining this single focus can be difficult. I get tempted by the fear of man (what will my neighbor think if we’re behind in academics?) and the pride of life (won’t everyone be impressed when my daughter wins this competition?), and these things can cause me to turn from pursuing God to pursuing achievement. If I want to see God in my parenting, I’ve got to remember that though my children play all musical instruments, excel on the SAT, and win sporting events, but have not love for God and others, I have failed as a parent.

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

Life with children can be noisy and chaotic, but it should not be full of strife. God is a God of peace, and this peace should reign in our homes.

Peace in the home begins in the relationship between husband and wife. A survey was once conducted of a large group of homeschooled teenagers from very conservative homes. These students were asked what one thing they would change about their families if they could. The people who conducted the survey really expected the children to say they wished Mom and Dad were not so strict and would give them more freedom. But overwhelmingly, these children said that if they could change anything, they would keep their parents from fighting and make Mom and Dad love each other. The relationship between Mom and Dad sets the tone in the home, and we cannot expect our children to live at peace with one another if there’s strife between their parents.

We also need to encourage good relationships between our children. I don’t allow fighting or name-calling within my house. Because these things are not allowed, the children have learned other, more peaceful ways to deal with frustration.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, in their book 20 and Counting, give a list of the rules of behavior in their house. I smiled when I read this list because they are very similar to the rules in my own house. But for these rules to be effective, Mom and Dad have to abide by them too:

    1.     Always use soft words, even when you don’t feel well.

    2.     Always display kind actions, even if you have been mistreated.

    3.     Show joyful attitudes even when no one is looking.

    4.     Have sincere motives with no thought of self-gain.

    5.     Think pure thoughts.

    6.     Always give a good report of others. Never tale-bear unless physical harm will come to someone. Use Matthew 18.

    7.     Never raise a hand to hit.

    8.     Never raise a foot to kick.

    9.     Never raise an object to throw.

  10.     Never raise a voice to yell.

  11.     Never raise an eye to scowl.

  12.     Use one toy/activity at a time.

  13.     Never let the sun go down on your wrath.

  14.     Amendment J.O.Y: Put Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. Make serving your family a priority.

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

We live in a culture that does not value children the way God values children. As a result, if we choose to structure our lives around training our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, we will be persecuted. Some of the persecution will be blatant. It might come from family members who oppose the new baby you’ve joyfully welcomed into your household. Or sometimes total strangers will make remarks such as “Are they all yours?” or “Don’t you know what causes babies?”