What are you feeding your kids?

This morning I woke up thinking about Daniel 1:8

But Daniel purposed in his heart
that he would not defile himself with the portion
of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank.
Therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs
that he might not defile himself.

In case you do not know the story, Daniel had been taken captive to Babylon.  He has been selected by the kingdom to be trained in the Babylonian ways.  One of the ways of training was for them to eat the food of the kingdom, but the foods presented went against Daniel's principles.  So Daniel purposed in his heart to do things differently; to do things God's way.  Here was the result:

Daniel 1:19-20
And the king communed with them, and among them all was found none
like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore stood they before the king. 
And in all matters of wisdom and understanding
that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better
than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.

This story has always been inspirational to me.  Daniel was given a huge opportunity to be influential in the kingdom of Babylon.  I have no doubts that the food was delicious and very tempting and he could have easily blended in and probably did just fine, but he said "No, I am doing it God's way" and the result made him head and shoulders above the rest.  My challenge from this post will be for us to ask ourselves if we are raising our kid's God's way?  Are our kids standing head and shoulders above their unsaved peers?

Babylon was one of the most influential kingdoms of the time and to be given the opportunity to eat the food  that the king provided had to be huge.  There was probably a choice of a WIDE variety of the very best foods.  But Daniel chose not to look at the opportunities being presented to him, but rather to look at the principles of God and to filter his choices through God's way.

In America, we are incredibly blessed with a wide varieties of opportunities.  Around every corner are things that appear to be very beneficial.  Like Daniel, our kids have the opportunity to "eat" from the very best that this world has to offer right now, but are we as parents willing to step back and choose to do things according to God's principles and not the world's?  Are our expectations in line with His expectations or are they in line with what society says is normal?

I am often amazed when I talk to Christian parents who state the norm in their house is for their children to fight. Our society teaches that there is such a thing called "sibling rivalry" and that this is normal.  As a result, many people tolerate this sort of behavior between their children.  The Bible also taught (first) that yes, we have a sinful nature BUT we have to learn to overcome it with God.   I am also amazed by the common thread in our society that our "kids will outgrow these negative behaviors" and we call these negative behaviors "stages."  While I totally understand that our children do go through stages of negative behavior, the Bible does not call us to laugh it off, wait until the stage passes and/or look the other way.  Instead, as parents, we ARE called to train and discipline our children, and this training can and should produce a DIFFERENCE.

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not depart from it.

I am not saying that the proof you are doing this will be that your children are perfect little angels and never do anything wrong, but rather I am asking the question: are we training them?  The word "training" implies work.  If you have ever exercised and lifted weights you know that it is tiring and not easy, but WHEN you do it there is positive results. Our children should be known for their character. 

Proverbs 20:11
Even a child is known by his doings,
whether his work be pure and whether it be right.

Is that a goal you have for your children in their youth?  That people would know them for the good and the right things that they do?

God challenges us to some pretty big things are Christians: 

Romans 12:18
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

We are to love our brother and sisters in Christ, serve one another and live at peace with everyone.  What better place for our kids to practice and learn to live this out then in our homes?  As Christian parents, we have been given the opportunity to give our kids a HUGE head start in life and train them on HOW to love, how to live at peace and how to be kind starting right in our own families.

Psalm 127:3b-5
Children are a heritage from the LORD,
offspring a reward from him.
 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.

Our kids should be a blessing to us, their brothers and sisters and then to the world.  We shouldn't be holding our breath until they grow up to see if they become people of character.  Instead, we should be able to shoot them out of our homes into the world, like a warrior shoots an arrow!  When they leave our homes they should be ready to cause DAMAGE to the kingdom of darkness.
Psalm 127:1
 Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.

Deuteronomy 6:6-8
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home
and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads

Beloved, we truly need the Lord to build our houses for us. In His Word He has clearly told us how.  What we say we believe on Sunday with our hands up in the air, needs to be walked out on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday....  It needs to be a part of our lives from sun up and sun down.  And guess what, applying the Truth of God's Word into our lives, including how we raise our children should, can and will make them different.  So as the title of the post says, "What are you feeding your children?"  Are you feeding them the principles and expectations that this world has to offer or are you feeding them God's way?   As Christians, our families should be DIFFERENT, our children should be DIFFERENT.  The difference should be good, it should be noticeable and when people begin to ask why, we can say with confidence that it is because we are feeding them God's way.

For all my thoughts on parenting click here or for specific issues see the following titles:
Training Children: more of my thoughts on what it means to train our children.
The Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness: Is gentleness one of the attributes you possess in your parenting style?
Be Referees: If you are having trouble working with your spouse when it comes to parenting.
Lessons from my Children 1: Valuing Relationships & Lessons from My Children 2: Why we have relationship: Sibling Rivalry?  Here are some thoughts about it.

In Christ,


  1. Jaime,
    Thank you for this great reminder. I appreciate your heart and wisdom, especially when it comes to raising children. I have learned so much from your (and Josh's) example.
    One thing that struck me while I was reading this was the thought that: despite the best training, our children are born sinful with sinful natures and beings, and until they accept Christ they (and we) are unable to change their heart. While you can train their behavior, until the Lord deals with the heart issue within, all you're really doing is behavior modification, which sadly is not getting to the heart of the issue, and is usually a temporary "fix".
    I'm not disagreeing with what you said at all, it is (like you say) our job is to train and lead them to Christ, and that MUST look DIFFERENT than the world's way - but as a parent I am constantly reminded that as hard as we might try, we cannot make them choose Jesus as their Savior. The Bible gives us no guarantees that if we do and say the right things that our children will come to know Him. He gives us guidelines and His way to do things, which we should indeed follow, but no promises.
    I was struck by the example you gave of siblings fighting, and I'll be honest, my kids fight.... daily. It's not something that I ignore, I am consistent in my training and discipline in the matter, and we are slowly seeing some difference. But to explain to my 2 1/2 year old that she is meant to serve her older brother and to be a blessing to him (while we do that) only goes so far. She is selfish and while that's not all that she is, she does not yet have the Holy Spirit within her to cause her to want to change that. She is disciplined for her selfishness as an external motivation to change the internal, but that can only do so much.
    I guess what I am trying to say is, yes, our children should look different, yes our job is to consistently train, disciple and set them apart as best we can. BUT We need to keep in mind, they are born sinful, not innocent - we (the parent) are not necessarily "screwing our children up"- if we're doing the best we can to lead and guide them (as sinners) to the cross, that process is not always going to be pretty or even head and shoulders above society. It's messy, because sin is messy (their's and mine).
    You used the example of Daniel, a young man who was living a life devoted to Christ and He (on His own) was following the Law of the Lord. There is a difference between what and who Daniel was and what/who our young children are. Daniel was head and shoulders above the rest because He had the Lord in His heart - our young children may not yet.
    I'm not sure if what I'm saying is making much sense, and I know I'm coming from a much different place, as your children are a little older and are at a place in their lives where they have acknowledged Jesus as their Savior (and praise God for that), I'm coming from a place where I'm dealing with a 1 and 2 1/2 year old who have not sincerely done that yet.
    Again, I just want to say, I am not disagreeing with anything you said.... just adding a little bit from a tired mama of very young children :)
    Love ya!!

  2. Dear Amber,

    Thank you for your comment. My post was not being written to address the issue of salvation. It was written to encourage parents to do the hard work of training their children. The Bible does state that we reap what we sow and the Scriptures do show that we as parents have a responsibility to train their children and it is also gracious enough to give us the hope that it will make a difference:

    Proverbs 13:24
    Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

    Proverbs 19:18
    Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.

    Proverbs 29:15
    A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.

    Proverbs 29:17
    Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.

    Love you,



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