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Parents responsible for shaping next generation, authors say

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–Elaine and David Atchison have found more than 230 verses in the Bible that are resources for parenting.
Though they are quick to admit they are not perfect parents themselves, the authors of “Shaping the Next Generation” from LifeWay Press see themselves as fellow guides on the shared road of parenting.
The Atchisons, of Franklin, Tenn., are the founders of Disciple’s Call, a teaching and writing ministry. Their introduction to leading groups of parents came a decade ago through the request of their minister of education.
“He asked us to do a Bible study on parenting,” Elaine Atchison recalled during a class at Discipleship and Family Week, July 18-24 at Glorieta (N. M.) Baptist Conference Center. During the six-month study, she said, “we started reaching people outside the church.”
Though the Atchisons are no longer in that church, they know the class continued for a minimum of eight years.
“We saw tremendous discipleship opportunities,” David Atchison said. “We wanted to see parents be equipped.”
While their recently released workbook-format text deals with family heritage, shaping character and handing down faith, three chapters are devoted to discipline.
“Discipline is a tool, not a weapon,” he maintains. “Discipline means training. Like a hammer, it can be used constructively or destructively. Discipline requires loving, obedient parents.”
Citing Hebrews 12:6, the Atchisons reminded conference participants that the Lord disciplines those whom he loves.
“The real object of discipline is to be a model and pattern of obedience,” David Atchison continued.
Parents whose lives do not model beliefs they say they have are disobedient, according to Titus 1:16, he pointed out.
“I can’t transfer (to my children) what I don’t have,” he said, “but I will transfer what I do have. When we aim for a higher standard of obedience, God can use it in a great way.”
Elaine Atchison said while parents may see their children as inconvenient and difficult responsibilities at times, “God sees them as gifts.”
To help parents make parenting issues a matter of daily prayer, the Atchisons have included in their book a list of 31 daily petitions on topics ranging from a teachable spirit to a sensitive heart.
“It causes the parent to focus on thinking about and evaluating the topic of prayer for the day in their own life as well as for their child,” David Atchison observed.
And knowing that “not everyone fits into a neat little package,” Elaine Atchison said, they have included open letters to parents of children with Attention Deficit Disorder, single mothers and fathers, grandparents helping parent their grandchildren, parents of children with special needs, parents in blended families and married parents.
The course is taught by video, with the leader facilitating conversation related to each chapter of the workbook. The leader’s kit, which includes a book and two video tapes of seven 20-minute sessions and a leadership segment, is $74.95. Individual copies of the book are $7.95. Both are available through LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention by calling toll-free 1-800-458-2772.
Within each chapter are a viewer’s guide for use with the video training; discussion questions to be used in a group, with a spouse or another parent; a personal study based on content taught in the video and practical ideas to use with children.
Discipleship and Family Week was sponsored by the discipleship and family division of LifeWay Christian Resources.

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  • Charles Willis