I'm on vacation this week, but while I'm off I wanted to pass along an article that I originally wrote back in the fall of 2015 on lessons God has taught me about parenting.
On Sunday we had a time of dedication. The parents dedicated themselves before God and the church family to train and love their baby and seek her salvation. And we dedicated ourselves before God to love and support their family in their commitments.
For me it was an opportunity to think on some of the lessons God has taught me about parenting:
- There are no guarantees. A child’s faith and maturity are not something we “achieve” the way we bake a cake – just because we add all the correct ingredients the result won’t necessarily be the same every time. A child’s faith and maturity are the result of God’s work, a parent’s responsibility and a child’s response. When we forget this, our parenting becomes marked by worry, frustration, and pressure.
- Don’t make an idol of your child. When John warns us to keep ourselves from idols (1 John 5:21), he’s talking about all of the things that we can replace God with for fulfillment, security, identity and significance. When our children take God’s place in our lives, they suffer and our view of God becomes skewed.
- Anger never accomplishes anything constructive. There are so many things that tempt parents to anger and frustration. And when we see defiance and sin, feelings of righteous anger can be natural and good. But God is clear in James 1:19-20 that we can’t accomplish any good through our anger. Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Parents need a strategy for diffusing their anger.
- Words are not enough. Abuse is real and children need to be protected from out-of-control parents. But in trying to address this, our society has often robbed parents of the healthy leadership and discipline that children need to mature. Proverbs 22:15 teaches that Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him. Parents who threaten and bribe their children instead of giving physical consequences for defiant behaviour, will never root out deeper sin issues in a child’s heart.
I'm glad that God doesn't leave us to ourselves in the task of parenting. He loves to give wisdom and grace to all who would seek Him.
In awe of Him,