Parenting in the Trenches (Parenting 101 Reprise)
Parenting can be fun, but parenting is always daunting. If it is not daunting to you, you do not understand parenting.
I love to meet with parents. Since I am one, I understand something about their joys, fears, hang-ups, and hopes. I very recently had the privilege of meeting with a group of homeschoolers in Owensboro, Kentucky, and was asked to address an issue I felt would be of importance to them. At first glance, it might seem that any parent’s primary concern might include such matters as discipline, socialization, developing proper friendships…you get the idea. And these are important.
But any parent’s primary concern is much more basic and non-optional. Since this was the subject of my last blog, I will attempt not to be repetitive. But what I shared with that group is that parents must know the Gospel personally, live Gospel-centered lives, and build Gospel-centered homes. I challenged those parents, as I would challenge you, to see the Gospel as much more than an escape from hell. The Gospel is life. I encouraged them to go to their knees for wisdom in dealing with their spiritually awakened children. This makes our own knowledge of Christ and the Gospel even more important, for we cannot lead our children where we have not gone. The easy-believism of the 20th century has brought many into the church under false pretenses, and led many children to “make decisions” without an adequate understanding of either the Gospel or their sin.
As parents, we are called to live Gospel-centered lives before our children. It is this demonstration of Gospel reality that is the basis for successful Christian parenting. I shared with those parents what I hope you will see. We are not moralists with a set of rules. Nor are we therapists with psychological remedies. We are sons of God working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. We are fallen men and women living a life of grace by faith. We are growing ever so slowly yet ever so certainly into the likeness of Christ, and our children must see this demonstration of Gospel reality if we are to be successful parents. Could it be that the reason many young people wash out when faced with opposition from the world is that these first things have been left out? May God help us to live Gospel-centered lives that will lead the next generation to Christ.