Saturday, August 20, 2011

Purpose in Parenting

Our kids are almost all grown now and often my mind reflects back on my job as a mom. While there is laundry load of things I would do differently if given the opportunity, I am grateful to my Father for His grace in the task. 

A while back an ad on the Yahoo home page for the Chevy Traverse claimed to have the answer to one of the biggest parental headaches. It showed a brother and sister in a car.  He was irritating her and she had this attitude and of course got upset.  Over and over….You’ve probably experienced this scene as many moms have in their own cars.

Then the traverse shows up in shining armor and they can now sit separately.  The caption says “Finally You Can Separate Them.”  The idea is that more space will fix the problem.  Keeping them away from each other will result in sudden family harmony.

And it might. But what would it profit them?  What would they learn?  What character trait would it grow in them?  And more importantly, would this solution bring glory to God?

Separating them teaches that when someone gets on our nerves, we can simply avoid them.  It teaches that when I don’t like a situation, I can simply leave it.  It doesn’t teach loving each other.  It doesn’t teach overlooking an offense.  It doesn’t teach humility.  It doesn’t teach to be at peace with all men as far as it is up to you.

I don’t know when or how parenting became all about the parents.  Yes, as parents we want peace…quiet…harmony…we want to be able to finish a thought process in our minds without being interrupted by “MOM!!!!!!!”.  But this too shall pass. All too soon we will be ordering graduation invitations, sending care packages to college and then helping plan a wedding. And we want them to be able to live a life that pleases God in each of these stages in their lives. That starts with our parenting. Purposeful parenting, not parenting for peace and quiet or whatever is easiest.

Don’t run from the difficult situations; tackle them head on with the principles found in Scripture. That’s how to arm our kids with the heart character they will need to live a life that pleases God. 2 Timothy 4:2-5 speaks to preachers, but I think it holds a wealth of wisdom for parents too. We definitely do not want them to turn away from the truth, so we need to endure the hardships and purposely use opportunities (such as fighting in the car) to teach God’s ways to them.

I think we would all agree that our goal for our kids is more than just getting them to adulthood alive. We want them to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness”(I Timothy 6:11) so that they “may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:10).  And we don’t need a Traverse to accomplish the task.


  1. I remember that Daddy would insist that my brother and I work together washing and drying the dishes and how we would get into arguments. I wondered why he didn't let us alternate days. I guess we had to learn to cooperate by settling our differences!

  2. A wise dad for sure! And his children benefited from it... that's the goal of parenting. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. So much truth here! If you ignore, the problem still festers and it grows just differently. However, if you just face it, lance it on the spot (meaning deal with it), then it heals itself.

    When my 2 little guys start going at it, they have to do squats, holding crossed hands, up and down 50 to 100 times saying, "I am in trouble because of you; you are in trouble because of me." They end up in a giggling heap.

    Those situations build relationships and graft them even closer together - no matter how painful the process is to us!