Is There a Biblical Formula for Raising Good Kids?

Originally published Tuesday, 03 April 2012.



It's the question we would sell our most valuable possessions to answer. How do we ensure that our children will grow up to love and serve the Lord?


The answer? We can't.

Their hearts were far from me today. These boy babes of mine have stretched me to my emotional, spiritual and physical limits and not suffered even a twinge of guilt for it. They've disobeyed, disrespected and disreguarded most everything I've said as if I wasn't even in the room. I've disciplined again and again, offered consistent consequences for poor behavior, and offered them Jesus, the only One who can change their hearts of stone to hearts of flesh, begging them to call on Him for help. And still no change.

For all of my parenting foibles, I have done a few things right. And when the occasion comes that I do get something right, I begin to long for a world where I can always get it right. I dream of opening the Bible and reading these words:

Parents: If you do A, and add B, you will always get C.

  • If I homeschool my children they will be guaranteed to love and serve the Lord.
  • If I send my children to church they will be guaranteed to love and serve the Lord.
  • If I show them the path of life, lead them to the cool water of the Gospel they will be guaranteed to love and serve the Lord.
  • If I beg God for their souls they will be guaranteed to love and serve the Lord.

But God isn't a formula, and the laws of Math don't always apply to raising children. Why? Because God knows how He gets the ultimate glory. He knows that your wayward son will bring many to Him as he shares his powerful  future testimony. He knows that your pregnant, unmarried daughter needs this baby to save her life. He knows that my rambunctious, difficult to control, sometimes unruly, hardhearted boys will drive me to the foot of the cross again, and again, and again.

And that's where He wants me.

A plus B does NOT equal C. Many books and authors claim to know "the biblical way" to raise our kids. I don't believe it's possible. To allow me a formula for raising godly children would be entirely too easy. For if A + B = C, I lose my need for the intervention of a loving Father...a Father who loves my children, and yours, more than we ever can. If we could change the hearts of our children ourselves, what need would they (we) have for a Savior?

No, the only thing I can do, you can do, is offer them truth and grace...and cling to the grace, wear the grace for ourselves, and trust that the God we serve is good.

The only equation I've found in life that can be proven true again and again is this:

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. ~Psalm 115:3


Brooke McGlothlin is a a writer, word-prayer, photo-maker, and boy-raiser who knows that if God doesn’t show up, nothing happens. She's the mom of two young boys who leave her desperate for God’s grace, and is married to the man she’s had a crush on since the third grade. She’s the Editor and Co-founder of the MOB Society (FOR moms of boys, BY moms of boys), author of Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it MostHope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess, and creator of the 21 Days of Prayer for Sons. You can find her writing at her personal blog, A Life in Need of Change.

Photo Credit: Stock.xchng