“So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up” – Deuteronomy 11:18-19.
Parenting is a much more complicated and harder job today than it was 50 years ago, yet it has never been more important. The culture has changed. The view of the family has changed. Technology has not only made the world so much different, but it has also in some ways made it more difficult to communicate with the next generation. Both parents and children now live in a cyber world that is computerized and digitalized.
We want to give our children the best, but what exactly is the best? Are we supposed to raise good kids who pursue the American dream with some Christianity sprinkled in? There is no roadmap to raising great kids. Parents can read countless books and try endless techniques…but the truth is that kids will make their own life choices. The best thing we as Christian parents can do for our children is to point them to Christ.
Before He ascended, Jesus commanded His followers to “go and make disciples of all nations.” Christians have rightly understood this command as a call to reach out in our world, our towns, and our neighborhoods. But it’s also a call to make disciples in our own families. Christian parenting is disciple-making, and obeying Christ’s commission should orient all we do as parents. We educate our children not ultimately to ensure they find a high-paying job, but to help them start the journey of becoming followers of Jesus. We discipline them not so they’ll make us happy, but so they’ll follow and serve Christ as adults. There are a lot of tenets to parenting, but understanding the importance of pointing your kids to God will prioritize the countless educational and extracurricular decisions in raising a child.
What a relief to know that we don’t have to parent on our own strength and wisdom. We have all experienced that frustration. God loves each one of our children so much that He desires to love and parent them “through us” as we stay surrendered to Him. This is great news for every parent. We will still experience great challenges, but we will also experience the joys and rewards of parenting.
Is it worth it? Yes, it will be all worth it in the end. We will never be perfect parents. In fact, probably far from it. But I’ve learned that God loves me and loves my children and the best life we can hope for is following Him. Spending time, talking, and imparting truths are critical to raising our kids. Your kids will love you for it in the end. And when they yell, stomp, scream – just fix your eyes on the prize and know that parenting is not about pleasing the one you parent, it’s about pleasing the One who made you a parent, to begin with.
- What can we do this week and every week to be more intentional in pointing our kids toward Christ?