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Friday, March 8, 2013

Parent & Child Relationships for Successful Family Legacy!

It has frequently been said for ages now that all children want is to be heard. In the same breath and extent of parental existence, we frequently hear from parents that children are to be seen and not heard. It sounds like we are forever faced with proving the impossible; mixing unpredictable components, or as is often said "mixing oil and water". So what gives in this ageless argument?

For the parent-child relationship to flourish, we must first embrace our respective roles. As such, within our roles we must obey, honor, and embrace the promise to live well and long. We must also make certain not to provoke, but instead to nurture and nourish souls. See below for instructions on how to conquer this amazing feat.

The Truth

To remain a successful and healthy family in today’s environment you must possess the spiritual acumen, emotional stability, and cultural awareness to navigate the culture and its many obstacles. More importantly, teach your dependents, your spouse, children, circle of influence, and so on, to continue to propagate a healthy family legacy that has been passed down by you.

Today’s children and tomorrow’s parents are absorbing from you the traits and characteristics that will allow them to succeed in life and pass on a healthy legacy to your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Contrary to what you may perceive, they are deeply interested in gaining insight from you that relates and impacts their future successes. They want to see and experience now results they can glean from and apply in their futures.

The Process
We (you and I) must form the foundation of our thinking and approach to this culturally elusive dialog from the greatest book of wisdom our world has ever seen; the Bible. Observe the following scripture out of Ephesians 6:1-4 (nasb):
Family Relationships

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother(which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

I find no better way to unpack this discussion in the context of family legacy than to explore some key words within this scriptural passage which govern or express the sentiment and reality of healthy parental-child relationship.
1) Obey (NT Greek: Hupakouo)
Parents must set the tempo; children must follow. There must be an existence of order and hierarchy within the parent-child relationship. Far too often in our culture and era anymore we find parents seeking to be friends with their children rather than parents. Does the adult-to-adult relationship change between parent and child later in life? Yes! But face it, you will never be friends. (Biblical usage: to listen, to harken to a command, the duty of a porter, be obedient to, submit to)

2) Honor (NT Greek: Timao
In keeping with the provided order the word obey has gifted us from the start in defining this familial relationship, children must adopt an aura of reverence for their parents in order to enable proper functionality. As one would expect, parents must foster and atmosphere (mature responsibility) which allows and enables them to receive/embrace the honor being offered by children. (Biblical usage: to estimate; set a value, value of personal belonging (ownership), to revere, to venerate)

3) Promise (NT Greek: Epaggelia)
For a culture which is ever so focused, in recent times, on personal satisfaction and self-improvement, it is a wonder for me how we miss the offer of a benefit that flows out of our commitment and decision to honor our parents. The statement is plain and simple, execute on the definition of honor defined above and there is an automatic God-ordained flood of prosperity coming your way. What is the promise? So that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the Earth. (Biblical usage: announcement, act of promising, a promise given or to be given, a promised good or blessing)

4) Well (NT Greek: Eu)
Observe some of the literal definitions and the usage of this word "well" in the Bible. In Acts 15:29 it refers to abstain from harmful circumstances and things such as idols, fornication, etc. In Luke 19:17 and Matthew 25:21, 23 it speaks of prosperity that comes with displaying faithfulness and responsibility. In Mark 14:7 it portrays the act of doing good to others. There is also the apparent promise of long life which usually comes with good health. Is our concern and inability to adopt or seize this blatant promise fostered by our interpretation of well or prosperity as strictly materialistic? (Biblical usage: to be well off, to fare well, prosper, acting well)

5) Provoke (NT Greek: Parorgizo)
As parents, especially father, we have a great opportunity to impact the lives of our children. Because of the amazing God given order which has been naturally written on our hearts, especially as children, parents also possess a deep connection and ability to hurt their children. That scar and hurt is most evident in the circumstance of parental abandonment. Regardless of how long it has been since we last connected with our child as a parent, there will always remain a parent size void that can only be filled by the biological parent. A personal relationship with God the father does have a miraculous ability to sooth and re-purpose a great deal of that deep emotional struggle. When we refuse to allow our children to be heard, we walk a similar fine line as abandonment. (Biblical usage: to rouse to wrath, exasperate, anger)

6) Bring (NT Greek: Ektrepho)
The word "bring" in this scripture refers to the process of nurturing and nourishing a life. Its accurate embodiment also involves characteristics such as cultivating a relationship, encouragement, development, and being supportive. (Biblical usage: nourish to maturity, to nourish, to nurture, to bring up)

As a parent or a child, the ability to create and foster a healthy familial relationship requires each of us to fulfill a specific role, and incorporate the respective characteristics from the list above which applies to our life.

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