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  • Called to be holy.  If fathers of families could keep ever before their eyes this single high purpose toward which they seek to guide their children, what a difference it might make in the homes of our nation!  And how shall they guide them unless they themselves are holy?  This must be their constant prayer:  For their sakes I sanctify myself.  The greatest need of families is holy parents.

    And how shall parents bless their children?  Among the many meanings of this word bless are “to pray for the happiness of” and to “make happy, blithesome, and joyous.”  How should we do this?  Showering children with material things is often the first thing modern parents and grandparents think of to make them happy.  When I think of what made me happiest as a child it is not the tangible gifts I received, even though these meant more to me than such things can possibly mean to many present-day children because they have so many.  I think of the pleasure of my parents and grandparents showed in me.  They never lavished compliments on us (I don’t think we would have been ruined if they had parted with a few more!), but we treasured any least word of encouragement.  Bringing home a report card with all A’s was a great happiness for me, even though it was more or less expected, and children generally live up to expectations.  When we did that we knew our parents were pleased.  Mother smiled, although she was not given to waxing very eloquent.  Daddy always said, “That’s fine.”  Those words were prize enough for me.  Our performance was not the result of relentless goading, or even the prospect of great rewards, but of that “steady pressure to be at our best.”  To do what was right.  Realizing how unbelievable some of this may sound to readers, I checked my memory with my brothers.  They agree that this was the way it was.  Why was it?  Example is by far the best answer.  It was the way our parents lived.  The consistency of what we saw, the dependability of their word, the clarity of their requirements backed up the example.  

    The apostle [Paul] blesses his spiritual children with grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, and goes on to thank God for them and to recount the ways in which His grace is increasingly being manifested in them.  They have all the spiritual gifts they need, he says, and reminds them that Christ will keep them strong to the end, for He is faithful.  

    **Excerpt from Chapter 23 of “The Shaping of a Christian Family”, pg. 142-143