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And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob (Genesis 25:28, NKJV)

You are my favorite son or daughter. How many times have we heard these words coming from some parents? But how often do we stop and think how these words my affect their other children? I do, when I was growing up I knew a father who lavished attention on his son and neglected his daughter. This father took his son to interesting places, spent considerable amounts of money based on their family income, and gave him much attention.

The mother, because of a debilitating illness, was unable to provide meaningful growth activities for her daughter. The daughter found other pastimes, neglected church, became a nurse, married an incompatible husband, attempted suicide, and died at an early age. The son went on to a rewarding career and a meaningful life.

This family reminds me of the family of Isaac and Rebekah; Isaac loved Esau but Rebekah loved Jacob. This father failed to instill godly values so his favorite son Esau was willing to sell his birthright for a bowl of cooked red stew (Gen.25: 29-34). Esau was the father of nations that continually made war against Israel. His mother’s favorite son Jacob valued the birthright so they were willing to practice deceit to obtain this valued possession. Later Jacob wrestled with an angel to receive the valued blessing of God.  God in His providence made Jacob an ancestor of Jesus Christ (Luke 3:34).

Biblical guidelines help shape a child.

Give boundaries so they won’t run wild.

Favoritism can hinder the way they grow.

Parents should watch the seed they sow

Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4, KJV).


Give other biblical examples of good and bad parenting.

             If you were preparing guidelines for new parents, what would you tell them?