Over the past few years I have seen a shift in thinking with the parents I work with. I doubt it is a new trend, but it is something I have been noticing more of lately. You see the world is shaping how we think about parenting. When you want information on discipline, unusual behavior, or want to know how to discuss current events where do you turn? As a culture we turn to the media, a favorite magazine, mom blog, or you know just google it. But when is the last time you turned to scripture? The trend I am seeing is that parents want to split up their roles. They want to approach normal parenting issues in one way and their role as a spiritual leader in a completely different way. Let me encourage you to not make these things two separate things. Instead let me encourage you to first root your parenting in who you are in Christ and what scripture says and then go to the world for ideas.
I have parents come and talk to me about parenting issues often times they have never even consider the spiritual implications yet. In the 90’s the W.W.J.D. trend took over because it reminded people to think about “What Would Jesus Do” in this situation. (And let’s be honest if you did not have the bracelet you were not among “the cool” group). In some ways I would like to see this trend come back. Christ needs to be at the center of our thought process especially when it comes to parenting. In Tedd Tripp’s book Shepherding a Child’s Heart he defines parent this way:
“The parenting task is multifaceted. It involves being a kind authority, shepherding your children to understand themselves in God’s world, and keeping the gospel in clear view so your children can internalize the good news and someday live in mutuality with you as people under God”.
That is a high calling and I think it sums up why you cannot separate your roles as a parent. Once you start filtering your parenting methods through Biblical perspectives and scriptural teaching God will be glorified. And hopefully your kids will grow to have a personal relationship with God through your discipleship.
Heed the warning of Proverbs 3:1-6:
“1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, 2 for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. 3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths”.
You need to let God be in control of all of your life. Your own understanding will fail you. So I encourage you not to parent based on tradition, what works, or what’s convenient. Instead base your life and your parenting on what scripture teaches. Think of the fruit of the Spirit. What if that list alone was our goal for parenting? Not only to teach our kids how to live, but the standard of how we parent. That alone could have a radical impact on your family. And this is only one example of many of how scripture should influence your parenting. So again please let me encourage you to not only make Christ the center of your life, but also make sure He is at the center of your parenting.