Parenting is perhaps one of the most challenging and critical responsibilities we will ever have and perhaps the most important thing we will ever do. Why? Because parenting affords us with a fundamental opportunity to directly influence the future.
All throughout scripture we see God connecting faith to family, and establishing it as the primary context where personal faith can transition into generational faith. It just wasn’t the faith of Abraham, but the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. When God looked for the best way to further faith on the earth – He chose the family as the facilitator of furthering faith in the world. So, when it comes to parenting the stakes are incredibly high. We parents need to get this right because it just isn’t the faith of our children that we influence but it is also the faith of our grand children and great- grandchildren. Moms and dads need never to forget that parental influence carries with it generational echoes that help shape a generation yet unborn.
In a recent series on parenting I listed the ABCD’s of parenting. Many in our church asked for these to be posted online, so here they are.
1) Ask Clarifying Questions.
Instead of asking, “what do I do with my kids,” ask, “why do I have my kids.” Understanding the why often clarifies the what and how details of parenting. Our children are arrows in our hands. They are to be shaped, molded, and prepared to one day be released by parents who are like mighty warriors. These arrows are to be launched at worthy targets so they can influence culture and further faith as they begin to live their own lives as adults. And remember the goal of parenting isn’t to raise good kids, but rather to raise great adults.
Also, rather than asking, “what do I want them to do,” ask, “what do I want them to become.” Hopefully things like: respectful, compassionate, independent, confident, responsible, honest, integrity, selfless, leadership, etc come to mind.
Last, don’t ask, “how do I teach them to obey,” ask, “how do I teach them how to think.” One of the greatest gifts we can give our children isn’t teaching how to obey but rather teaching them to think correctly. Obedience can become about eye-service but when we teach them to think rightly then they can do the right thing even when we aren’t there to leverage our immediate influence.
2) Be who you want them to become.
Teach by exhortation and teach by example. Both are important! Our children view our values and adopt our affections. Love what you want them to love. Be who you want them to be.
3) Create strong connections and cast strong vision.
Foster strong connections through conversations, having fun together, etc. And as important, cast a clear compelling vision over your children. Paint an inspiring picture of what God can do, and wants to do with their future.
4) Disciple your kids.
You lead the way, and then partner with your local church. Our mission as parents is the same as followers of Jesus – make disciples.1