I’m no expert at parenting, although I have lots of experience……at getting it wrong. When you have 5 kids you realize you have plenty of opportunities to blow it. Your hope is that they all turn out to be good adults and not spend the rest of their lives in therapy. You tell yourself what kind of parent you will be. And then you actually have kids.
My prayer is that my children will grow up to be godly and impact their generation with truth and light. It’s a daunting task to guide and direct them into adulthood. The stakes are high. I want to get it right. So I read books, I talk to other parents, I listen to Focus on the Family on the radio.
What I see is lots of models for parenting. When my parents were growing up children were expected to be seen and not heard. The generation my kids are in are not only seen and heard, but they are running the show. I don’t think either is ideal. The first leaves a child feeling less than valued and the latter leaves the child spoiled and selfish. So what’s a mom to do when trying to find the balance and get it right?
As always, the answer to everything comes back to God. God is our Heavenly Father and we are His children, so how does He treat us? How does my Abba, my Daddy, parent me? One place to find the answer to this is in the book of Hebrews.
Hebrews 4:16 – “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most”.
Hebrews 12:5-6 – “And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children?] He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
From these scriptures we see 4 things I need from God, as His child. I need to know I can go to God. I need His grace. I need discipline (correction and guidance). And as much as I hate it, I need punishment when I’ve done wrong.
To experience discipline and punishment without grace would crush me. To experience only grace without discipline is not really grace. It’s chaos and ultimately negligence. And God is not a God of chaos or negligence.
We can conclude that if we parent like God parents, then we can be confident in our efforts. As adults, our children will ultimately make their own choices, but I want to do well with what He holds me accountable for. So these are the things Hebrews teaches me:
- We allow our children to come to us in confidence, feeling valued and safe.
- We offer them grace when they need it, being an example of God to them.
- We discipline them, giving them guidance and correction because we love them. They ARE children after all, and need to be taught.
- When necessary we punish them for lack of obedience. We must remember that if our children do not learn to obey us as their parents, they won’t obey any authority, including God, as they grow older.
Now the hard part………..doing it! Lord, help us to take the truth of Your word and apply it to every moment of every day, especially to these innocent ones you’ve entrusted to us. May we be found faithful parents as we follow Your example. Give us the wisdom to know how to make this happen and the strength to do what You show us.
13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.
14 But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” 15 And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.