Chad Cowan • Pastor of Care Ministries
Meditations on Parenting
Comedian Martin Mull once mused that, “Having children is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain.” This week we’ll take a look at some Scriptures about parenting, and, by God’s grace, find both encouragement and instruction in His Word.
MONDAY: What Do Kids Need?
Wow! Whatever I thought parenting would be like, I had no idea about the needs of a newborn. I intellectually knew that they couldn’t do anything for themselves, but now I’ve seen it firsthand. Not only now, but in the years to come, our new son will have many needs that we’ll have to meet. There’s a need, though, that transcends all others. Here in 2 Timothy, there’s a key verse in chapter 3 that states, …And how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. As I think about all the things I want for my child–a promising career, a vibrant social life–I must remember that some day, if the Lord tarries, the only thing he’ll have is his salvation. This verse reminds me that you just can’t start too young to introduce your children to the saving promises of Christ.
Don’t just read the Scriptures to your children–teach them how to read them as well. (Living by the Book by Howard Hendricks is a good starting point!)
TUESDAY: Resisting Worry
Yes, things look bleak. Nationwide, church attendance isn’t going up, and America is becoming increasingly secular. So does God expect me to not worry about my child’s future? Well, evidently the answer to this is “yes.” A verse that we’ve probably all seen a thousand times, yet never loses it’s relevance, speaks to this very idea. We see in Matthew 6:34: So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. While it’s good to invest in our children’s future, there is a fine line between investment and worry. I like how Trevin Wax says it: “Seeking first the kingdom comes after we have been sought by the King. The root cause of worry is not misplaced priorities. It’s misplaced faith. It’s a failure to grasp the gospel of a God worthy of our trust.”
When you’re tempted to worry about your child’s future, ask yourself, “How can my child and I invest in the kingdom of God today?”
WEDNESDAY: Guidance to Godliness
People and electricity have something in common: they both tend to take the path of least resistance. It’s important to remember this in light of Proverbs 22:6. The Hebrew word for “train” means to dedicate, and carries with it the idea of guiding a child’s conduct away from the path of least resistance towards godliness. With that in mind, the text goes on to say that even as children age, they will not depart from it. While there are always exceptions, (Proverbs speaks in general guidelines, and should not be taken as promises), it is generally true that children who are brought up in Christian homes, under the influence of godly parents who teach and live God’s standards (cf. Ephesians. 6:4), follow that training.
Are you giving your kids the training they need today for the world they’ll face tomorrow?
THURSDAY: Making the Most of Opportunities
I can still hear the sounds of the oars going through the water. My dad and I spent a lot of time fishing on the Hughes River in Richie County, and to this day, they’re some of my favorite memories. What I remember more than anything else is just the time we spent together. Opportunities to spend time speaking with your children about God’s truth in today’s world is a challenge, to say the least. There will always be competing priorities, and yet I believe that this is exactly Deuteronomy is telling us. The Lord intends for us to intentionally spend time daily, during our tasks of the day, to speak with our children about His truth, so that the next generation will know His love as well.
Set a goal to have at least one conversation about God and the Scriptures per day with your children.
FRIDAY: The Chop-Chop-Chop of the Blades
I’ll never forget the first time I heard the term “helicopter parent.” I was working at a graduate school, and I couldn’t believe how some parents continued to “hover” over their 23- and 24-year-old kids, much like a helicopter hovering over a news scene. In Colossians 3:21, we see the command that Paul gives for parents not to “provoke” their kids. While discipline is certainly encouraged by Scripture, irritating and unnecessarily angering your kids is not. This could take the form of a mother who tries to swoop in at the first sign of trouble, or a dad who overly criticizes a child’s performance. Since such practices have actually been shown to increase anxiety in children, let’s be mindful of how we speak and act when we think we’re “helping.”
Be mindful of how you are treating your children. You may be hurting more than you are helping.