Appeals & Family-Building

Working within the system

Memory verse:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deut 6:4-9 - NKJV

This week’s principle: Raising children, growing a family, is so much more than instruction, principles, and discipline. Family is the pot in which the growing child cooks until he is ready to face the world.

The Appeal Process

How to teach your child to respectfully request a modification of your command.

A proper appeal to authority has biblical precedent. Some examples are Daniel’s appeal to his trainers/captors, Abraham who appealed to God regarding destruction of Sodom, and Paul who appealed to Caesar and later to Philemon regarding Onesimus.

The appeal process is when your child respectfully requests a change in their instruction for a legitimate reason. It differs from negotiation in that negotiation does not truly acknowledge the parental authority but instead is a bargaining challenge. The appeal process acknowledges parental authority and its rule in their life. To be in authority and to accept an appeal is to accept that we are not perfect, that we make mistakes, and that we are flexible in some issues. We are not always fully informed in our decision-making and commands.

In order to not frustrate our children, we must consider other factors of which they are aware—and we may not be. For instance, it is normally not caring to force a child to prematurely stop something that is about to end naturally and deprive them of that ending—a game, a TV program or movie, etc. This might lead to exasperation. An appeal is a reasonable way to allow the child to express his desire and request grace. It should simply be a way for the child to give information of which we may not be aware.

Benefits of the appeal:

In order to initiate the appeal, the child must speak. It is simply a question, asked respectfully—“May I appeal?” The parent may respond “yes” and allow the child to give further information in order to gain a change in instruction, or “no”, and the child must simply obey as usual. Reasons for this are below. The appeal process may be misused. Several guidelines will prevent this.

Teaching the child the process is essentially what we did here—sit them down and explain the process, give some examples, and help/teach them through the first few attempts. It is based on trust; if your child gives you reason to mistrust, it may need to be withdrawn for a period of time and approached again later.


“No man on his death bed ever looked up into the eyes of his family and friends and said, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.” —Unknown

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.” —George Moore

Our current culture and society has done much to break down the traditional family. (It may be argued that this is because of anti-Christian sentiment.) Our government and laws encourage immoral and anti-family behaviors. This is something outside the course of our study, but teaching right morals, right family interaction, and right living in society are our duties—they will not be done in schools or work. Just as we began the course reading Deuteronomy, we must be teaching our children at all times, in all ways, about all things.

Family is the mortar that holds society together, its most basic unit. (It is truly a small church for the Christian family.) Family are those who stay beside us all of our lives (sometimes whether we like it or not!). In order to have a close family, knit together by love, it takes work and effort. Our tendency is to be lazy and assume that family closeness will simply happen. It won’t. However, most of this “work” is very pleasant to do. It often takes creativity and conscious effort to build the family in ways that are exciting, interesting, and fun. It is the parent’s responsibility to build the family as the child grows, certainly not the child’s.

Growing a child consists of gradually releasing responsibility as they are able to carry it. It should not happen too late or too early, but little by little, and not half-heartedly, but in full. The final goal of parenting is that your child becomes one of your closest friends as they become a responsible, independent, moral –hopefully godly—adult. Your job is to raise a person fully independent of you; they will leave home—that is your job.

“There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings.” —Hodding Carter, Jr.

“The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along without them.” —Frank A. Clark

Here are several suggestions regarding family building:


  1. What is the purpose of the appeal process?
  2. What are some valuable skills learned by the appeal process?
  3. How can the process be abused?
  4. How do you frequently waste time? How can you better spend time?
  5. Can you think of examples of “fools” leading others in the wrong direction? Share one?
  6. What family events or traditions first come to mind when prompted?
  7. Are you actively involved in ministry? Do you frequently read the Word of God yourself? With your family? Do you pray without ceasing?


  1. If your children are old enough, teach the process and give updates next week.
  2. Look for adult examples of an appeal process you encounter this week.
  3. Plan how you can better use time for family, ministry, and study of God’s Word.
  4. Take time with your spouse and consider several different ministry opportunities. Discuss options and come up with at least one, but maybe 2-3 things in which you can serve God and teach your children service and ministry. It doesn’t have to be laborious!