Parents are you dominated by love or frustration? Do you lead your children or do you push them? Leading is born out of love and pushing is born out of frustration. We tell our children that we demand obedience and speak sharply because we love them and only want the best for them. Children are seldom convinced by this argument. It appears to them as if they are being pushed into doing what mom and dad want.
As a Christian, you must first be blown away by what Christ has done for you on the cross. This is expressed by drinking deeply of God’s commands so that your heart is permeated with them. Then, this love for God and his commands is to overflow from your heart into the everyday situations of life that you and your children encounter. It is this combination of loving God and living out his commands in everyday life that will allow you to impress the love you have for God into the lives of your children. This is what it means to lead. This is the pattern that is taught by Deuteronomy 6:5-7.
Even as you embrace this deep love for God that Deuteronomy requires, your children will be still the same sinful creatures that desperately need the grace of God. You will still have to discipline, train, and patiently endure the challenges of being a parent. The difference will be that you will not be pushing your children to grasp what remains elusive to you. Rather you will be leading them to the same place that you long to go – to the cross.
Leading in love means that sharp words are replaced with pleasant words. Demands are replaced with understanding leadership that recognizes the battles with sin are not won by force of will but by dependence on Christ.
Living out Deuteronomy 6 in this way requires dependence upon God to do what you cannot do in your own strength. It is this dependence that will uniquely draw you and your children closer to your God and his beauty.