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As a nation, we're building great houses, but are we building great homes?

A quick drive around the edges of our city is all that's necessary to convince you that we've become a nation of master builders. The variety, creativity, and technology are simply amazing. But sadly, as our nation is becoming more skilled at building houses, we're becoming less proficient at turning those houses into true homes.

A house, not matter how elaborate, is only a place to live. A "home" on the other hand is a place of peace and relational harmony. It's a refuge from the stressful and defiling forces that bombard us in this world. There are tremendous pressures on the family today and the statistics tell the story.

Since 1970, single-parent families have increased by 124 percent. Out-of-wedlock births have increased 450 percent. Adolescent suicides have tripled.

Domestic violence is a national epidemic. At every level, the American home is under siege. For most Americans, it is no longer the place of refuge and security is once represented.

How can we counteract these troubling trends? It begins with a frank recognition of the problem. The next step is to acknowledge that God created the family structure and knows how to best fix it

God's First Form of Government
The very first institution God established on earth wasn't civil government, schools or even the church - it was the family. God designed the home to be a training center in which parents teach their children positive values. But when parents fail to do the job, other sources of guidance and influence rush in to fill the vacuum. When that happens, children can end up adopting values that damage or even destroy them.

A vital key to making your house a home is learning to instill positive values in your children. Proverbs 22:6 says: "Train up a child in the way he should go and even when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Unfortunately in the 1970s, discipline became a dirty word. "Let kids do their own thing," was the cry of the day. Today, we're paying a high price for that philosophy. The cost is exacted in the form of broken homes, high-crime rates and swelling prison populations. The Bible says that to withhold discipline from your child is to hate him, but that diligent, appropriate discipline is an expression of love (Prov. 13:24).

Children need direction and correction because they're immature - physically, emotionally, and spiritually. They need discipline to establish a clear moral compass and sense of right and wrong. So dare to discipline your kids in love. It will enhance their prospects for success, and help make your house a home.

Impart Your Values
Ben Franklin once said, "It is easier to exemplify values than to teach them." That's especially true where our children are concerned. Many parents are adept at telling their children what to do and even imposing consequences when their children fall short. But many fail at the most important aspect of training - modeling the value system they are trying to teach their children.

It's hypocritical to tell your children one thing and do another. If you demand honesty and then cheat on your taxes, your actions undermine your words. But when your life demonstrates the ideals you espouse, you're doubly influential. As we're commanded in Ephesians 6:4, we must "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

Be the Primary Influence
Every parent should ask him or herself an important question. "Who or what is the most powerful influence on my children?" Is it the school system? Their friends? MTV?

One of the greatest challenges facing parents today is the battle they face for the very hearts and minds of their children. Not only are many parents no longer the dominant influence in their kid's lives, studies show that in many cases the parent is not even in the top 20!

In a world of powerful, destructive forces, winning parents must find a way to be a positive influence.

Create a Legacy of Faith
Finally, more than anything else, it is vital that we impart a love for God and for His Word to our children.

Do you know why, out of all the people on earth, God chose Abraham to establish a special relationship with? According to the book of Genesis, it was because God knew Abraham would impart values to his children.

Imparting character and values to your children is one of the most important and most challenging aspects of parenting. Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop once wrote: "Values are the foundation of our character and of our confidence. A person who does not know what he stands for, or what he 'should' stand for, will never enjoy true happiness and success."

Parents, you can be sure of one thing - your children are adopting someone's value system. Why not decide today to take the time and effort required to impart positive values to your children. Follow these biblical guidelines and you'll go a long way toward turning your house into a godly home.

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.

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