Two Simple Steps to Forge Grace-based Parenting
Why parents? What is it that children really need from parents? Can’t any stable, loving adult fit the bill--daycare providers, church volunteers, teachers? What makes a parent’s role so unique? While society tells us, “It takes a village,” does God have something to say about what parenting ought to look like?
We find some pretty explicit instructions in Deuteronomy 6:5-9 where Moses says. “You should love Him, your True God, with all your heart and soul, with every ounce of your strength. Make the things I’m commanding you today part of who you are. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you’re sitting together in your home and when you’re walking together down the road. Make them the last thing you talk about before you go to bed and the first thing you talk about the next morning. Do whatever it takes to remember them: tie a reminder on your hand and bind a reminder on your forehead where you’ll see it all the time, such as on the doorpost where you cross the threshold or on the city gate.” [The Voice]
As parents, this is our mission, our calling, our assignment. Do we really dare to trust this to someone else? There are many reasons/excuses why we are tempted to do this. Maybe we are overly attached to our material possessions or careers or even our ministries. God knows it’s important to work hard, earn an income, be responsible. And what about the ministry he asks us to do? Isn’t that a big deal? And yet God, in his great wisdom, never asks us to do something that goes against his most basic commands. As parents, we are never let off the hook as to our primary responsibility in the lives of the children he has given us. Our job?
Point our children to Him.
We are surrounded by the beauty and intricacy of his creation. Failing to comment on these things continuously would be a serious mistake. Why do the stars shine? How do birds fly? Why do leaves turn color and fall off the trees? Where does snow come from? Would we ever run out of examples if we wanted to talk to our children about God when we sit at the dinner table, walk along a trail, as we tuck them into bed, or drive them around in the car?
First, we need to point our children to the Creator--give him credit for all he has done or they might hear from someone else that it is all a grand accident that happened over millions of years after a big bang. Instill a sense of awe in your children. You will never have to look far for material.
Second, we need to teach our children about their need--a need we share with them--a need for God’s redeeming grace. God did not create a spectacular world full of wonders and then walk away from it. He sees how sin has affected his creation and his creatures and stands ready and willing to give us everything we need to live a life that glorifies him. Are you, as a parent, experiencing God’s grace on a daily basis? Are you acknowledging a deep need for him? Are you talking to your children about it as you sit at the dinner table, walk along the trail, as you tuck them into bed at night, and as you drive along in the car? You should never run out of personal examples for this conversation either.
You are the voice God has chosen to speak to your child about him. You are the one to tell her about God’s existence, his authority, his plan. Can you take an honest look at yourself today and think of anything that might be getting in the way of this all-important calling?