Ever feel old? I know I’m only forty--not-going-to-tell-you years old, but sometime I feel as if age is catching up with me. Actually, not sometimes…more often than not! Sometimes it's hard to believe that I actually have three adult children and two grandchildren! All of my family are the joy of my heart.
Being older (notice I said oldER) means that I have many years to reflect on. The formative year of my family were highly influenced by many good books, and I thank God for them!
When I began my family twenty-five years ago, one of the most influential books I ever read – even to this time – is What the Bible Says About Child Training, by J. Richard Fugate. (Of course, when I got a hold of it, it was the older version, and a new edition has since been published. Looking at it online, however, it appears as though the newer version does not have any additions to it.)
The book is full of foundational principles for young families, and also some good advice for parents with older children. The Scriptural principles laid out in this book are indisputable, and are Biblically sound. It was very helpful then, and it is just as helpful today.
One of the principles that has helped me over the years which is explained fully in the book is what I call the Crossover Principle. It is the time in a child’s life when the power of the parent is no longer that of control, but that of influence. When they are young, we need to control them, but as they get older, the need for our control lessens. They are more able to operate on their own. But as they get older, their need for developing a good relationship with us -- and thereby increasing our scope of our influence in their lives -- increases. This principle alone has spurred me to try to develop good relationships with my children. Now, as my children call me from their homes in other states, they seek my approval and advice. What a good feeling to know that they care!