I had it all wrong!
Where did I get such backward ideas and beliefs?
Like so many countless others in our culture, I’d bought into the belief that life was all about ascension to the top of a career ladder.
You go to school and go to school some more. Then, if you really want people to know that you’re smart …you go to school some more! All of this to land a career that supposedly not only makes you happy but pays you a boatload of money.
All to achieve the manifestation of self-glory and the ever-elusive concept of personal happiness.
Are You Ready For The Truth?
The truth is, our calling is to raise our children to be devoted, godly individuals. To raise disciples for our Lord and King. As Christians, we are commissioned to make disciples, and that starts with our children.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” -Matthew 28:16-20
I was completely sold on the notion that power, position, title, and the depth of one’s pockets, were the ultimate goals of life. The great race to financial comfort and happiness.
I’d been Bamboozled!
Of course, being a good person played into that. I mean, being a good person means that you are Christian …right? It earns you respect from your community, and is simply what you’re “suppose” to do right?!
These are the basic beliefs that I brought into my parenting.
I’d already done all of the wrong things for YEARS before I discovered the truth.
I’d started saying things to my daughter like “you’re going to be a great scientist when you graduate from MIT!” Or “Artists don’t make very much money sweetheart.”
Clearly, I was constantly suggesting that grades, the schools that she would attend, and choosing the “right” career path, were what mattered in life.
We’re taught to be all that we can be … do you remember that slogan?
As children, we are constantly asked by adults “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
It’s practically a common greeting when adults met children for the first time. We don’t know what to say besides asking the obvious demographic questions, so we turn to the ever-popular career-orientation type of probing.
I think a better question for our children is “WHO do they want to serve?”
But I digress.
When I realized that I’d been raising my children from a perspective that could be to their detriment, I was mortified!
So Here’s What I Did…
I prayed to God to lead our parenting and to place us in alignment with His plan. After all, these are His children that He has entrusted the Mister and me with.
Since I felt that we were starting a journey of paramount proportions, faced with trying to re-teach and re-train our children’s thinking, and our own. We knew we had to start with God’s word.
Studying God’s Word helped me to identify the true goal of parenting. It started with this scripture:
And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. -Ephesians 6:4
There is so much to glean from this scripture. “And you, fathers,” this scripture is referencing fathers because they are the ones responsible for the headship of their families. This means that they are ultimately responsible for the well-being of their children, namely spiritual well-being.
However, this does not exclude us mother’s as we are our husband’s help-meet, and therefore supporting the common goal of our families.
The scripture goes on to say “do not provoke your children to wrath” This is paramount because we know that wrath (anger) will turn people away and shut them down, blocking them from listening to reasonable counsel. Additionally, this is not the way our Heavenly Father deals with us. He is a compassionate and gracious Father, albeit just, likewise, fathers ought to deal with their children.
And the final portion of the scripture says “but bring them up in the training of and admonition of the Lord.” Training, meaning instruction, education and/or discipline of a person. An admonition is counsel and advise and/or caution. Therefore, father’s are to raise their children in the teachings and counsel (guidance) of God.
To sum this scripture up, the true goal of parenting is to raise disciples of Jesus Christ, to go out and share the good news and to make more disciples.
Three Ways To Implement The Raising Of Our Young Disciple(s)
As homemakers and mothers, we have a pivotal role in the creating of our young disciples. We are the encouragers, the teachers, the role models, the affirmers, and sometimes the enforcers.
There are some things that we can do, besides the obvious from the commission of Jesus himself, to assist us in raising disciples.
Making Sure They Know Their Savior
As mothers, we are always diligent about our children’s health and personal hygiene. We can apply this same level of commitment to making sure that our children are in a relationship with Christ.
There are several ways this is accomplished. Prayer, bible study, children’s bible programs such as Awana, scripture memorization, bible read-a-loud’s, scripture parties, and the list can go on.
The idea is to saturate their lives in God’s Word.
We all know the power of modeling appropriate behavior for our children. An old parenting goes something like this …children don’t do what you say, they do what you do. I think most parents can attest to the truth behind those words.
Therefore it is important for our children to see that we live our lives according to the Word of God. That we are grounded in scripture as true, dedicated, and unapologetic followers of Jesus Christ.
Children should not only hear you tell them to forgive but should also experience forgiveness from you. They should not just be told to treat others with kindness, but they should also be witnesses of kindness to others from you (even in traffic!)
I know that discipline can be a touchy subject with some people, not you though …I KNOW you completely get it!
Hence, I’m adding discipline to this list number one because it’s necessary for all children. And number two is because it’s necessary to cultivate loving obedience in a child.
Obedience is a necessary ingredient in the creation of disciples, as we learned in Matthew 28:20.
During my life as a Family Education professional, I was constantly teaching curriculum, that now looking back, is in direct opposition to the Word of God.
Nowadays, we are taught to center our parenting around our children. We crouch down to their level to speak to them. Make sure that they have every comfort and cater to their happiness.
Many of the clients that I worked with confessed that they did not discipline their children for fear of Child Protective Services involvement.
In turn, their goal was to make their children as “happy” as possible, which many parents defined as allowing their children to do whatever they want.
That is a shame!
Proverbs guides us with these comforting words:
“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
So There You Have It
I’m going to wrap up our chat today by sharing a couple of things.
First, I felt SO guilty about not having learned this truth before my eldest son was an adult.
I wrestled with that thang!
But God is so good…Where I was lacking He gives in abundance. God can do anything! If He can create the cosmos, He can deliver my son. I take comfort in that truth wholeheartedly, and that is where I place my faith.
I want to encourage you to also take comfort, where you may feel like you haven’t quite measured up in parenting. If you were bamboozled by worldly parenting perspectives, there is hope for us.
The other thing is this…
Children naturally share what they believe to be true. As a matter of fact, they share with a conviction like no other. Have you ever heard kids debating over the existence of Santa Claus? …it can be downright ruthless!
So it’s never to early to help your children establish a relationship with Christ. Neither (do I believe) that you will have to formally coerce your children to share the word of God with others. It will naturally occur as a by-product of your child just being who they are.
Well, I have to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed our discussion today. It’s a topic that I’m passionate about. If you enjoyed the post or found it helpful, please share it with others on your favorite social media platform.
Also, I’d love to hear what you think …Do you agree that the true purpose of parenting is raising followers of Christ?
Blessings, and Happy Homemaking!