Since your child is unique, there is a unique approach to parenting them. If you haven’t discovered it yet, certain disciplinary actions work well on some children and don’t even phase other children. Attempts to make one feel loved may not work exactly the same on another child. Each child is motivated by different approaches.
You might have also discovered that if you use the wrong approach on a child, you might actually get the reverse effect for which you were attempting. A good method on the wrong child might produce disastrous results.
In parenting, your job is simply to make disciples. Discipleship is the process of making spiritual infants into spiritual adults. You are growing them up in the faith.
But how does a parent do this? How does this type of intentionality work?
No one made disciples better than Jesus. His example reveals something about his approach – His goal was the same but his approach was different depending upon the person. As He invested in the disciples, He was aware that different strategies worked better on different people.
- When dealing with Peter, Jesus often used a bold rebuke in order to get his attention (Matt. 16:23).
- With James and John, He questioned their desires to get to the heart of their thinking (Matt. 20:22).
- For Thomas, Jesus offered him the proof that he so earnestly desired (John 20:27).
Jesus‘ intentionality worked. Peter, once known for his cowardice (John 18:16-18), would be forever remembered for his boldness as he preached the gospel (Acts 4:19-20). John, formerly called a “Son of Thunder” for his desire to call down a fire in order to consume the unrepentant (Luke 9:54), was later called the “beloved disciple” (John 13:23) who would be known for teaching others concerning the importance of loving one another (1 John 3:11).
Jesus loved them in their current state but crafted them uniquely according to God’s purpose.
As parents, we are called to do the same. Acknowledging how God has shaped them, we are called to affirm who they are but also to work on who they could become.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way. -Ps. 139:23-24
As a parent, you must search your own heart, but you also must study your children. Learn what it takes to spur them on to love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24-25). It will be different from the other children in your home.