When you think about parenting, what do you think about?
- changing diapers
- sleepless nights
- ball games
- dating issues
In general, the concept of parenting is about “raising children” right? That, after all, is what parenting is. It is developing and directing those God has placed in your care.
While reading in the Old Testament recently, I was vividly confronted with the importance of the responsibility of raising children. The Old Testament, time and time again, presenting godly kings, priests, and prophets where were followed by ungodly children. It’s truly a sad ending to so many amazing legacies.
So, this got me thinking about parenting and what is involved in the raising of children.
If a parent’s role is to raise children, three actions seems to be at the core of that responsibility:
- Provide basic necessities for the child
- Keep the child safe
- Teach the child
The first two of these seem pretty straightforward and universally understood. It is the third point regarding the teaching of children that seems most often missed. Whether acknowledged or not, you are responsible for teaching your children, and what you teach your children will be generally dictated by these 4 things:
Your values drive and direct your parenting. The advice, discipline, restrictions, and blessings you give are based on the values you have whether or not those values are verbalized or even realized by you. All too often, parents think that they have a particular set of values, such as raising godly children, but then parent in a way that simply does not demonstrate that value in the least. In essence some parents’ actions reveal they really value producing a professional athlete, ensuring a college scholarship, ensuring a good paying job, ensuring a good education, or ensuring popularity for the child.
A lot of families have great values, but no intentionality. The implementation of the values takes effort and intentional parenting. Think about the values you want for your children and family when you discipline, advise, and spend time together. Talk to your children about those values and explain how they are shaping why you all do some of the things that you are doing as a family.
From the time your child starts kindergarten, you have 676 weeks of influence before they graduate High School. Time limits what you teach your children. Factor into the limited number of weeks you have with your child minus their time in school, time sleeping, time out with friends or at sports, and you will find that you have very little time to influence your children and teach them in a meaningful way.
- Starting Point:
We do not receive all children with a blank slate. You may be a parent as a result of adoption or foster care. These children often come with challenges that impact what and how you are able to teach them. You may be a parent as a result of a blended marriage and inherit a precious teenager with years of pre-learned behavior. Maybe your child was born with a disability. All of these create different starting points that impact what and how you can teach your child.
So, what evidences of your spiritual leadership are there in your home?
Your spiritual legacy and that which you impress within the life of your children will be influenced by these four areas. Despite what hindrances exists or mistakes have been made, your spiritual influence in the home as a parent is essential. No one else can fill your role.