The parenting values found in I Thessalonians 2:11-12 can be very valuable. This text is not the most common parenting passage in the bible, but carries plenty of weight when it comes to practical instruction.

The text reads:

For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,encouragingcomforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

So how does a father (or mother) encourage? I think encouraging in this case is supporting the decision to live a life worthy to God. Supporting decisions of children teaches them self-esteem. When confidence in their decision is shown they feel like a competent person.

Comforting is helping the child when things get tough. Obviously Paul knows the pain that goes with a life worthy of God. Similarly parents know that life can be painful. Comforting children in all stages of life is something parents are called to do. Comforting children when things seem minor will help you learn to be comforting. It will also teach the children to come to parents for comfort because they have always found it to be a safe place.

Urging is giving a push when a push is necessary. Sometimes parents are the only people in a person’s life that have the credibility to push their children because they know their limitations. A parent knows when a child is living up to potential and and is responsible to make sure they are doing the best they can. An important part of this is urging properly. Knowing their limits works both ways-not expecting too much and expecting effort.

This text indicates that ultimately a parental goal is for the child to live a life worthy of God. What an incredible responsibility!

Justin P. Lewis