I read a book recently that I’d recommend to parents (or people who disciple, for that matter). It’s called The Danger of Raising Nice Kids.
The main point of the book is that it is so easy to fall into the trap of feeling comfortable that your child is becoming a nice, well-adjusted, respectful, academically-above-average person. That’s dangerous because that is not the goal of parenting! The goal of parenting is discipling a child to follow God so that, when they’re launched, they’re launched on a lifetime of full-commitment to God.
Here is a quote from the book.
"We don’t need another parenting book that promises nice kids…Being nice doesn’t cut it anymore…a parenting philosophy that focuses only on external behavior is destined to fail. What do I mean by nice? A pleasant, friendly, well-mannered, carefully groomed, preferably conservatively dress person. Isn’t that what we want our kids to be?…I will be challenging the practice of parenting from the outside, focusing on a child’s looks, behavior, and performance." (p.9)
What Timothy Smith is pointing out is that parents need to follow this eternal directive:
"My son, give me your heart, And let your eyes observe my ways." (Proverbs 23:26, NKJV)
Parenting is all about reaching a child’s heart. Discipling, or leading a small group, or teaching a Bible Study, is all about reaching a person’s heart.