“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” – Psalms 127:3.
Yes, children are a gift from the Lord, but sometimes you wonder if that gift should have some money back return policy. Sometimes you wonder if being a parent is all its cracked up to be.
It begins before the child is born, it continues through infancy when we wake up in the middle of the night to ensure our kids are still breathing. Then the toddler stage where they learn how to use their appendages and suddenly, every outlet has a cover on it. Then comes communication as they start stringing together curiously odd sentences out of words they probably shouldn’t be repeating. And then puberty hits.
Is it worth it? Absolutely. Our daughters look up to us like we could bring them the moon in a pretty pink box, tied up with a little red ribbon and bow. Our sons think we are the strongest people to have ever walked the Earth, as we hoist them onto our shoulders for a better view. We are truly blessed. And it is the most important thing we will ever do because we are raising the children today who will be the future of the church tomorrow.
There is a story in Luke 9 of the disciples arguing about which of them was the greatest. Jesus knew their thoughts and brings a child to his side and says: “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.”
That wasn’t the answer they were looking for, and it caught them by surprise. Children weren’t very important in that culture. They had no rights, no status, and no economic value until they could work. Sometimes parents would leave an unwanted newborn out in the elements to die; it wasn’t a crime. While boys could be educated, girls never were. Distinguished rabbis wouldn’t think of wasting time teaching children. That’s why on another occasion, when mothers brought children to Jesus, the disciples turned them away. Jesus was an important person. He couldn’t be wasting his time with children when there were so many adults waiting to see him. But on that occasion and this one, Jesus changes the rules. Both times, he brought those children to the front of the line. Both times, he said: These are the most important people in the crowd, and unless you become like one of them, you will not enter my kingdom.
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. Set out to please Him and you’ll raise Home Run Kids in the process.
- What is the worst thing about being a parent? What is the best thing?
- Do you believe parenting is the most important thing you do in life? Why or why not?
- What can we do this week to be a better parent?