Parenting is tough. Sometimes it can even be overwhelming. But at the end of the day, it’s also an amazing, rewarding and life-enriching adventure.
“Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.” – Psalm 127:3 NLT
Here are a few guiding principles and resources that have helped us along the way:
I bought the book, “Too Old Too Soon” by Doug Fields when our first born was only one year old. It’s a bit dated, now, but truthfully, Doug had me at the cover. I remember seeing the contrast of the photo on the front cover with the photo on the back and immediately made an important decision:
1. Understanding that they will have the rest of their lives to be adults and only a few short years to be kids, we will do everything within our power to keep them from becoming “too old too soon.”
” I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.” John 17:15 NLT
Once again, the title of the book sums up this principle pretty well. Parents often live with the tension of wanting to protect our kids from the world but also somehow prepare them for the world.
Have you ever seen a child who was home schooled for a time then was sent to a private Christian school, and when they graduated they just went crazy? Like a kid who was never allowed to eat candy who finally gets a taste and just goes hog wild? Yeah. Me, too. We didn’t want that to happen with our kids.
This book, “Raising Worldly Wise But Innocent Kids,” provides wisdom for parents from the book of Proverbs. The big takeaway for me was this truth: We can’t protect our kids from their own sinful nature. The evil, as it were, comes from within. (See Mark 7:21-23) We can, however, prepare them for the temptations and dangers that are waiting for them out there. So we decided:
2. Understanding that our kids have a sinful nature that only Christ can help them overcome, we will protect our kids from the world by shielding them from negative influences and prepare them for the world by helping them understand how to wisely navigate “in” it without being “of” it.
We’re aiming for worldly wise, but innocent.
“Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.” Psalm 127:4 NLT
You can judge this book by its cover in that it illustrates perfectly not only what the book is about, but what a good goal for parenting should be. “Raising Responsible Kids” by Dr. Jay Kesler is full of wisdom for “passing the baton” of maturity to our children.
One of the most difficult things for parents who love their children and want the very best for them is learning how to “let them go.” But one of the most important things parents must do is prepare their children for life and the challenges they will face when their parents aren’t around.
We love our children. We wish they were around us all of the time. We like to be needed and to save the day for them. But we decided:
3. Understanding that our children will be adults far longer than they will be children, we will do our best to train them for life on their own. In small doses over time, we will give them more and more responsibility acknowledging that they are really “Adults in Training.”
Sometimes we wish our kids were little forever, but that’s not very realistic. Besides, it would also be kind of weird. 🙂 They are meant to grow and go.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24 ESV
All of that being said, our kids are not perfect and neither are we. They make mistakes, get rebellious, and sometimes disappoint. But then again, so do we.
Their stories are still being written. As parents, God has given us the privilege of helping them turn the pages and enjoying watching the story unfold…