by Dennis and Barbara Rainey
I will never forget that incredible moment when our daughter Ashley was born. The doctor cleaned her up and handed her to us. I (Dennis) wanted to blurt out, “Thanks for the gift, but where are the instructions?” When we started out, we had a few ideas of what it meant to be a parent and raise children. Two years later we added a son and we realized that we had better become intentional about what we wanted to do as parents and teach our children.
As a result we began a list of 25 things we wanted to teach our children. Then it became 40, 50, and even more. (For your sake we’ve shortened the list back to the top 40.) Some of these lessons began during the first year for each of our six children, while others were emphasized later during childhood or adolescence. Today our children are adults and our role in their lives has changed. We have moved from being teachers to being cheerleaders and advisors, when asked.
Raising children requires huge chunks of time, prayer, discipline, involvement, and relationship-building. This list of values and traits has helped us focus on biblical priorities in raising children to become mature adults of faith and godly character.
We should mention that, after number one, the items on this list are not presented in any order or priority. We realize the list may appear long and daunting. But we suspect that if you began a list of your own, you’d quickly find that it’s just as lengthy.
That’s because parenting is a long and challenging task. Fortunately we have a God who gives us the strength to accomplish the tasks He lays before us (Philippians 4:13). We encourage you to lean on Him. No, we didn’t perfectly teach each and every one of these 40 things, but it was a guide to remind us of what was important. We never stopped training, teaching, and cheering them on. As Galatians 6:9 tells us, “And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.”