Rearing & Relationship

John Tilton

"Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged." (Colossians 3:21)
This verse is so brief but so relevant to my children and I. The scripture reminds us as fathers to be careful not to embitter our children, less we discourage them. Yet, some of the most successful people in the world attest to the firm rearing and upbringing by their parents and how it shaped and motivated their lives. Then there is generation X where everyone is a winner and success requires incentives. Thus, what is the key in relating to and rearing our children?
The key seems to come from my very aforementioned question ... "relating to." What I've learned through my short tenure here on staff in ministry is that relationship is the key in motivating, correcting, leading and guiding people.

In the corporate world where people are paid or contracted for what they do, there is a goal, project or assignment that one is paid or contracted to do. Thus, relationship would be nice, however, it often doesn't matter in getting the job done. I pay you, you do job ... end of story. We've heard of employees or subcontractors hating their bosses or clients, yet knowing that they profit and gain monetarily, so they do the job ... bitterly, but the work gets done.

However, with family and in ministry, I've learned that established relationship and even better if discipleship is involved opens the heart and mind, brings down natural walls and doubt to enable people to take a chance, receive correction, receive ideas and feel encouraged that what lies ahead is doable.

My busyness in my early career did not leave much time for my son and I. Thus, our lack of a close relationship and my "old style" upbringing of telling my son what he needs to do, as well as my correction with a perfectionist attitude did not do much to encourage him. Yes, there was bitterness. It's taken a number of years and a constant and relatively recent change in my attitude to establish a close relationship with him. If I could turn the clock back, I would be a friend first before a father. I would love before I led.

It's the same way in ministry. If I am to be successful in leading people to serve God with all their heart, then I must first establish a relationship within discipleship and trust first.

Encouraging and leading children or people seems to first require a heart of acceptance of letting them be who they are and the person that God created, not judged by our ruler or expectations in our time line, but by God's love that he created them as they are, and our part is to love them for their best attributes and give grace where God is working.
Lord, please continue your work in me as I learn to better lead and encourage my loves ones in my family and those I serve and minister with. Please continue to show me how to rear through relationship, guide with grace and love unconditionally. The result hopefully will then be less of bitter and more of better.

Today's Devotions

1 Kings 20,21
2 Chronicles 17
Colossians 3

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