THE SAFE FAMILY
(the put-down, teasing, bully-free home)
Some of you may be asking yourself right now, “Oh no, has Pastor Mark gone all snowflake on me?” Let me assure you I have not. But let me equally assure you of this: I hate and despise cruelty. I hate and despise bullying, put-downs, and hurtful teasing. I grew up immersed in it in the public schools I attended, and I absolutely hate it with a righteous fury. It has no place in a Christian’s home environment.
Dads, moms, our homes ought to be the safest, kindest place on earth to live for our children. Over the years I have counseled and taught thousands about raising children and building a godly home. I have made an interesting observation and discovery as I have interacted with so many parents. Many Christian parents allow hurtful teasing, bullying, and picking on one another amongst their children. I have seen it over and over again. They excuse it as “This is just kids being kids” or “I grew up with my siblings doing this to me and I turned out ok, it helped toughen me up” or some other rationalization. I believe with all my heart that this needs to radically change in Christian homes.
I expected my children to treat their siblings the same way I treated each of them. With much love, encouraging words, great kindness, sensitivity, and thoughtfulness. My wife and I simply would not tolerate the children being mean to one another.
This kind of safe home is one of the greatest gifts you will ever give to your children. Very few kids I have known over the years grew up in a Christian family where this was the norm. I desire to do everything in my power to help change this in Christian families.
Together let’s determine to raise a different kind of child in a different kind of family.
Don’t you want your 3-year-old to feel secure and safe in the presence of their 12-year-old sibling? Don’t you want your daughters to feel loved, cared for, and respected by their brothers? Do you want your older children bullying and teasing a younger sibling making them frustrated and cry? Do you want siblings laughing at another child when they can’t speak quite right, or they make a mistake? Do you want one of your kids being laughed at because they can’t throw a ball very well, then having the more athletic sibling putting them down or belittling them?
It’s time for parents to stop excusing this, by thinking back to their own childhood and rationalizing they grew up with it, it’s just what kids do. Let’s aim for the highest and best. Let’s create the world in our homes that we would actually like to live in. Let’s create a world in our own homes ruled by the commands and teachings of Jesus Christ, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other. A home where we are striving to say what is good, helpful, and encouraging and what will bless others and not tear them down.
Dad and Mom, use your God-given authority and make your home a safe place for your children to grow up in. It will not happen by accident. It will happen by you deciding to exert yourselves in a good, effective way on your children, teaching them to be kind to one another, and bringing the needed discipline to bear when someone is cruel, or putting another child down, or bullying them. If you don’t the kids will never learn it, and they will do what comes naturally to kids. They will be unkind, selfish, and mean. We want homes where the older stronger kids lookout for the younger weaker child.
Many dads and moms think their kids will learn just by watching their example. This is not true. Your example, while very important, must be backed up by instructing the children how to treat each other, insisting over and over again it is carried out, and bringing the needed consequences to bear when they are teasing, bullying, taunting, putting down, or deliberately aggravating and frustrating another child, which is what teasing is! We must rule our homes with justice and fairness. Our kids must believe they will be treated fairly and justly. Fairness and justice seldom rule in the world we live in today, but they must be the rule and reality in our Christian homes.
Many years ago, one of my sons was very close friends with the sons of another Christian leader. He spent much time in their home with the boys. He knew them well. More than once he commented to me, “Dad, I don’t understand why they treat each other so meanly. The older brother is so cruel to his younger brother. He calls him very derogatory names, and puts him down all the time.” My own son stood up for his friend, but the older brother did not change. My son wondered out loud, how can a Christian father allow this kind of treatment to go on in his home? That is a great question. The answer is, they shouldn’t.
Ask yourself this question. When other kids visit your home and hang out with your children what do they observe among your kids? What memory will they go home with in their minds?
In Oct. of 2017, I shared a message entitled, Raising a Different Kind of Child in a Different Kind of Family. The other day my wife listened to it, and after hearing it, she came up to me in tears and said, “Mark, I wish every person I know would hear this message. It is so powerful! Will you please share it with your readers?” I told her that I would.
Today, on the testimony of my wife’s words, would you please listen to this 23-minute message?
Helping you become a Strong Disciple,
Because of Jesus,
Pastor Mark Darling