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Christian Parenting 101


Parenting 101

Many of you are parents like me.  You struggle with your kids.  You struggle with what you think a ‘successful’ parent looks like.  You wonder if what you’re doing, saying, modeling, teaching is the right stuff.  You wonder if you’re kids are going to grow up messed up because of something you’ve done or a mistake you’ve made.  This is true of the single parent, the married parent, the divorced parent or the adoptive parent.  It doesn’t really matter…we worry about these things.  If you don’t worry, you may want to check your pulse…or I need a counseling session with you immediately…and I’ll be lying on the couch.

Sometimes I think we make parenting too complicated by focusing on the wrong things.  I’m not positive about this, but I’d hedge a bet that God has plans for us as parents.  Yes, I’m being sarcastic.  God has a pretty clear plan for parenting.  Does He give the details of what to do when you teen daughter is giving hints that a boy likes her?  No…other than “love is patient” and “do not murder.”  No specifics.  But, there are things that God does ask us to do…or hints at…in order to be successful.

Let’s look at the basics for humanity first.  It looks like we have two grand commandments that sum everything up.  Jesus said love God with all your heart mind and soul.  He also said for us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40).  The first part of this is a quote from the Old Testament when Moses is telling the Israelites how to follow God.  In fact…get this now…Moses here speaks directly to parents!  He said, in Deuteronomy chapter 6, that there are some basics for living a life that would make God happy.  Here’s the synopsis.  Love God.  Know His ways well.  Follow His ways.  Don’t forget His ways.  Teach His ways to your kids.  Don’t let them forget His ways so that when they are parents they will follow His ways and teach them to their kids too.

Ok.  So here’s what I get.  Successful parenting ends up with us doing everything we can to help our kids know God and choose to follow Him.  Wow.  Doesn’t say anything about graduating with A’s or getting college scholarships or getting that “secure” job or even making it to the American dream.  In fact, the Bible never mentions any of that stuff.  It doesn’t mention becoming an All Ohio athlete or making Eagle Scout or deciding what your career will be by 18 years old.  It simply says help them know and understand God.  I guess if we can do that, God will lead them through the rest of that stuff.

Yes, this is messing me up.  However, I believe that it will take stress off too.  As American parents, we have expectations for our kids.  But guess what, God’s expectations for our kids aren’t unlike His expectations of kids who hide out to read the Bible in China.  They’re not any different than expectations for a new Christian teen that is the head of his household raising his younger siblings in Nigeria.  They’re not any different from His expectations of the kid who’s living in the Native American reservation in Arizona.

Let’s switch this around.  God’s expectations for us as parents aren’t any different than the parents who read His word in the slums of Mexico City.  They’re not any different for us than they are for the Amish mom who is growing up in a small town in Kentucky.   They’re not any different from those of the dad who is raising his teen in the village of a remote area who just received word of Jesus from a traveling missionary.  Are circumstances different?  Sure they are.  But the end result is not.  God wants us as parents to get our kids to know Him so well they want to bring all their friends to Heaven with them.  That’s God’s end goal.  God wants us to parent so that our kids are raised in, grow up in, and bring more people into the church…the body of Christ.

What will that take?  We need to know our Bible well.  We need to pray often.  We need to talk often of His word.  Will this require guts to change?  I think so.  But we are built and designed to do this.  This is what we were made for.

Love, Serve, Spread the Word,

ed

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  1. March 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm

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