Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Parental Guidance

What are parents really supposed to be doing? This is on my mind as a write this article on the 12th anniversary of becoming a parent myself. I think this is more than a fair question. It could be argued that parenting is the single most important task on earth. After all, the family was the first human institution of creation. God invented the family to shape and direct society and determine the future of our planet.

Let me begin by first discussing what parents are not supposed to be doing:
1. Parents are not supposed to use their children for their own purposes. Whether it is making your kid the athlete you wish you were, or exposing near infants in pageants to promote your own self-worth, children are not objects. They are people with souls who deserve to be encouraged in the things they like - not the things the parents like.
2. Parents are not supposed to use their children as leverage. It is hard to witness children being shipped around or used as a threatening tool. I have seen parents do this with the grandparents in attempt to receive acceptance of wrongdoing, and I have witnessed what divorced couples are willing to do to their children to spite their ex-spouses. It makes me sick to see children used as leverage.
3. Parents are not supposed to promote their children in worldly pursuits. Many children will lose their souls because their parents have taught them that things and events in the world are more important than spiritual things. No child of a Christian should ever be influenced to think that worship or Bible study is optional. No child of a Christian should ever think that earthly possessions are more important than the souls of the lost.

This is not an exhaustive list. But these are some main principles. Now for another short list on the positive side, also non-exhaustive. What are parents really supposed to be doing?

1. "Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4).
2. "But Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven'" (Matt. 19:14).
3. "...that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children" (Titus 2:4).
4. "He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly" (Prov. 13:24).

As you can see, I decided since I am a parent with faults myself, that the best advice for parenting would come from God. These are a few things He has told us we should be doing - training, discipling, loving, and leading our children to Christ.

I have dreams for my children, but they are not so much for here. They are heavenly dreams. They are eternal dreams. They are dreams that can only come true with God's help.

"And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him." - Luke 2:40

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