If you are a parent, you have likely asked yourself, ”Am I a good parent?” You may have followed it with, “Am I even a decent parent?” I have asked myself both of these questions. Hopefully, there are some fellow parents in your life with whom you can have open and honest parenting conversations. I definitely do! A statement I frequently make when asked by a parent if they are doing the right thing is this, “Kids don't come with an instruction guide. If they did, how many of us would read it?” While they don't come, specifically, with an instruction guide, we do have some guidelines in the Bible.
Psalms 127:3 NIV
Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.
Ephesians 6:4 NIV
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Proverbs 13:24 NIV
Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
Proverbs 22:6 ESV
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Our children’s lives are not by accident. They are a part of God’s plan. In fact, children are a gift from the Lord, a gift to be treasured and nurtured. As we raise them, we must always treat them as the treasures they are. As they grow and begin to develop their own personality traits and begin to express themselves more and more, yes, the teen years, we must still remember they are a gift from the Lord. We must discipline our children, in love. If we do not, they will develop a depraved mind and do things they should not do. (Romans 1:28) When we are frustrated with our children, we should think of how patient God is with us. How many chances does He give us to be disobedient? How many times do we find ourselves asking forgiveness for the same things? The discipline of our children must be swift and sure, but never cruel or excessive. Our discipline is one of the ways in which we train our children for their future. Teaching them about God’s love and His Word is another. Both are necessary teachings that our children will rely upon when they become adults.
When my children were younger, their pediatrician told me not to compare them, to treat them as individuals. I couldn't help but notice that Zach (now 13) was talking before Nick (now 11); that Zach was able to climb upstairs at age two, but Nick was two-and-a-half and still wanted to be carried upstairs. He assured me they were both fine, and advised that I not continue to make such comparisons. If was difficult, and I haven’t completely stopped, but I have become much more careful about verbalizing the comparisons I make. They are different, both special and talented in their own ways.
As Zach enters high school, he is intent on playing football. I would rather he participate in the swim team—he is a great swimmer! I can list ten good reasons why I don’t want him to play football, but he is playing because, “Mom, I want to play football.” I’ve spoken with several other parents. My husband and my dad, both say to let him play, “he could get hurt doing other things, too!” I’ve given him many reasons why I think he should swim instead, but I will not pull him out of football. If he decides to swim, I would support his decision. Right now, I will support his decision to play football.
I ask myself, “Am I a good parent?” I’d like to think I am, but… I will make sure he is at practice on time, has the materials and equipment he needs, and cheer for his catches and touchdowns—I didn't say I wouldn't be praying all the while! He has really impressed me with his commitment to play. He practices each morning at 8:15AM. Not once, this summer, have I had to wake him up to get ready. The other day I dropped him off and he called me in a panic because he had dropped his mouthpiece in the car. I found it and took it to him. It was the orthodontic mouthpiece I hated to purchase, due to its expense last year—last year—he had kept up with it for over a year! He’s becoming very responsible. On his shoes he writes, Phil 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” He really is a gift from the Lord.
Have a blessed week!
Copyright 2018 by Kimberly Griffith Anderson
If you like this style of writing, you will enjoy Turn North: A 30-Day Devotional and Journal written by the author of this blog.