I didn’t grow up in the church. I’ve observed five divorces in the lives of my parents. I didn’t begin to follow Jesus until after I graduated from high school. I could probably add more strikes to this list, but the point is, I don’t have a template for being a good husband or father. Most parents default to the template from which they were raised. My past is a little skewed.
What’s your scenario? Whether you were raised in a Christian home or not, I want to challenge you to consider another pattern. Consider that even well-intentioned parents might do a disservice to their kids by wanting the wrong things for them.
My default has been to garner all that I can from people whom I’ve learned to trust and admire. Even in that realm, we
have to be careful. It’s very easy to fall victim to what every culture esteems as “successful” parenting. How can we know that we are parenting the way that God wants us to parent? Isn’t that success?
First, we need to debunk a myth. I think that we have all believed this myth at some point and have probably uttered these words when asked this question: “What are the important things that I want for my children?” Great question. What’s the mythical answer?
According to Craig Groeschel, the pastor of Lifechurch.tv, most parents — even those who claim to follow Jesus — would say that they would consider themselves successful parents if their kids were “well-rounded, well-educated, happy kids.” When I first heard Craig speak these words, it was as if my parenting manual was being thrown out of the window. Those traits make perfect sense in our culture! That’s what I wanted for my kids. You might be thinking the same thing.
Groeschel goes on to quote a golden nugget of truth from Scripture, “What will it benefit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his life?” (Matthew 16:26).
Is it wrong for me to want those things for my kids? The simple answer is no, unless those successes become the goal. It’s very easy as Christian parents to rationalize and pursue those things for our kids with the idea that our children can be more effective Christians if they have good careers or are financially successful. We should want those things. But should we let those things drive our parenting?
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is this: Proverbs 22:6 speaks of “the way” that a child should go. This way is not our way. This way is not the child’s way. More importantly, it’s God’s way. How often do we subvert the direction that God intends for our children by trying to insure successes in their lives that God has never promised? Don’t get me wrong. God will have His way, but it can be a struggle for your kids in their future walk with Him if we don’t raise them on the path that He has for them right now.
Consider this idea: Our children are not ours. We have been given a great responsibility to care for their needs and to share with them the story of God through history (Deuteronomy 6) but, ultimately, they are on their own journey with the Creator.
Perhaps, in our efforts to make them “godly,” we are turning them away from the direction of God’s path. What if He wants to face them in the opposite direction from what our culture espouses as successful?
Groeschel goes on to offer this: “To me, a better and biblical goal for parents is this: We are called to unleash single-minded, biblically-anchored world changers.”
What if we parented as if we were temporary stewards of the greatest containers of godly potential? What if our goal for our children was to continually seek God’s guidance on what it is that He wants for them and to help them pursue that goal on a daily basis?
Following Jesus is counter-intuitive for our culture. Likewise, Christian parents have to continually course-correct to combat what most would consider “successful parenting.” In a hundred years, nothing we do will matter apart from the impact we’ve made in God’s kingdom on earth.
This article is courtesy of ParentLife Magazine.