Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 23:25
"Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her
rejoice who gave birth to you"
This verse is the heart cry of every parent. Please let my children grow up to make me proud; I know that they have it in them. What is interesting about this proverb is that it only makes sense to those who are already headed in that direction.
This is a message to parents as much, if not more, than children. Children have choices to make as they grow up; and if they choose wisely, they will be choosing what pleases their Heavenly Father which should also be what would please their parents. But how does a child come to care whether their parents are pleased with them? There is a significant part that deals with how they were raised.
How do parents insure that a child wants to please their parents?
The four R's of great parenting: Respect, Responsibility, Rules, Relationships. All great parenting comes down to these four actions.
Respect: This is the absolute need for everyone to have and give value to everyone else in the family. Parents must treat their children with value in how they talk to them, how they treat them, how they spend time with them. You must say you are valuable. Parents must also demand that their children treat them with value. How they talk; how they act; how they obey; their priorities; their attitudes. Your children will pick up how to respect you and others from you. No one wants to be in a group where they are not respected and valued; where their strengths and uniquenesses are not celebrated. In fact, your family should be the place where you receive the greatest amount of respect and value. Remember we are naturally drawn to where we feel the greatest amount of respect. If you want your children to be drawn to the family, then they must feel the respect come from that source.
Responsibilities: This is the absolute need for each member of the family to take responsibility for their actions, words, attitudes, and motives. Children to truly be happy with their life must understand what they cause and what just happens to them. If they are oblivious to what they are doing and how it impacts their lives, then they will become a basket case. Families are those places where people learn how to apologize because they messed up. Families are the place where people realize the power of words and that they can't just say whatever they feel like saying. Families are the place where you must learn how to take responsibility for your attitude. Families are the place where you learn that what you do can change things for good or for bad.
Rules: This is the absolute need of every family to enforce moral boundaries – hopefully that are connected to God's Ten Commandments. These moral boundaries will live inside the child for their whole life. If a family does not teach the truth and the consequences of moral boundaries, then a child always feels like they are being picked on. They never understand what is right and wrong. You can't have a child who pleases you who has no sense of right and wrong.
Relationships: This is the absolute necessity for the family to have strong relationships. Children must have strong relational bonds with their parents; so strong that they do not want to displease their parents. This means that the parents must listen and care for their children at a very deep level. Listening to children as they go through the process of growing up is one of the hardest but most rewarding experiences of life. There must be a sense of "I can tell my parents anything because they love me."
If any one of these four R's are missing from your family, then your children have a high probability of spinning off course and deeply disappointing you as parents. They have the choice but you have programmed the rocket poorly.
What will make your parents truly happy with you? If you are willing to express the uniqueness of who you are within the moral boundaries of your God. I am always amazed at how even those who are wicked do not want their children to have the hard road that they had. They want the child to be a productive member of society and live a moral life.
If you are in a difficult situation where you don't know what to do, ask. What kind of choice would please my parents? Most of the time this choice will be a very good one.
There is another angle on this verse. It is the relational angle. What gives parents the greatest amount of joy as they age? Children who stay connected to them and want to have a relationship with them.