People that do not know how to love. People that have been hurt so badly and so deeply, they don’t know how to recieve love. People that are so inwardly focused they ignore the many needs around them. Injustice. Abuse. Sexual Addictions. Every kind of addiction and phobia. Men growing up not knowing what “being a man” looks like. Our total lack of self-esteem. Pride that consumes us. Materialism that controls us….hmmm…not a great resume, I must say!
Don’t put your life in the hands of “experts” who know nothing of life, salvation life. Psalm 146:3 (The Message)
Examining Your Goals
The opening of this chapter was so heartbreaking – it tells of a story of a little girl, not even three years old, marching in a parade in a skimpy costume, in the rain…crying her eyes out. Her mom urging her to finish the parade and not allowing her to stop and be comforted.
Then, I think of Michael Jackson – I read in his biography that when he was around 5 years old, the Jackson 5 were in the studio making a recording, Michael called to Joe, his father, “Daddy”…Joe said, “In here, I’m not Daddy, I’m your Manager.” That stuck out as one of those defining moments in Michael Jackson’s life. So much so that that little tiny conversation made it into his autobiography. It makes you think about why he became so warped. Was it because of his father’s drive to make his children succeed?
I’m sure there are many stories like this and I would say we would all agree that raising your child like this is horrible parenting. But, these are extremes…we probably all struggle with goals that we have for our children that are unbiblical and self-gratifying for our pride, at best.
Common Parenting Goals: (as a note – these are not BAD goals – but they are secondary. These are cautionary IF they become the primary goal.)
1. Developing special skills – parents want to give their children a “leg-up” on the competition. If they aren’t in little league by age 4, you might as well hang up your glove!
The author asked some pretty pointed questions on how we should weigh activities in which our children will be involved: Will these activities have biblical content? Will your children receive biblical instruction in an accurate self-image, sportsmanship, loyalty, poise, endurance, perseverance, friendship, integrity, rights, competition, and respect for authority?
2. Psychological health – many of us, driven by our own low “self-esteem” read book after book trying to guarantee our children’s high sense of self-esteem. The author brings up a great point…do you notice that none of these books promise to help produce children who esteem others? How can we train a child to serve in God’s Kingdom, where all the paradigms are turned upside down? In the kingdom of God, the leader serves, we prefer our brother, and we return good for evil. (i.e. very counter-cultural!)
3. Get my kid saved! – This is a wonderful desire, but like the author says, it doesn’t change your parenting goals. You will still be raising them them to have a heart towards God, you will still discipline, you will still give structure and boundries.
4. Family Worship – Family worship and devotions are valuable – but, even more important is a true spiritiuality that permeates every area of your life. (we don’t want to be raising little pharisees!)
5. Well-behaved children – Having well-behaved children are a secondary benefit to biblical childrearing – not the goal itself. What happens when we make “behavior” the goal, is that the issue becomes “what others think” instead of dealing with the heart. It will result in boundries that are moved depending on who you are around. There is also a danger to manipulate others by using manners in self-serving ways.
6. Good Education – As I said before, these goals are not poor goals in themselves, but they are secondary. Education does not always guarantee success. Education does not always guarantee an understanding of life or of a God-ward view of life.
7. Control – This is a not a noble goal at all. The main concern is the parent’s personal convenience and public appearance. But, how often have we had this modeled to us as “good parenting”? See how “in control” my children are??
THE GOAL of Biblical Parenting: To teach your children that they are creatures made in the image of God – made for God. They will only “find themselves” as they find Him. For their hearts to be able to say, when they stand before God, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.” Psalm 73:25
That is the loftiest and most challenging goal…maybe, I will go back to education, that sounds easier!! ha! Seriously, I hope you will take time to think over the things that you emphasize to your children. What are your PRIMARY goals for your family? How do your goals fit into the scheme of God’s plan for your children’s and your families life?
With love, Kristen
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