Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The #1 Mistake in Parenting

Out of all the many mistakes and out of all the things we as parents get wrong, you want to know what I think is the #1 error?  It's root rests in a little phrase I hear more than ever these days: "I just want my child to be healthy and happy. That's all that matters."  Think about that.  Really ponder it.  It doesn't seem so harmful now, does it?  Who doesn't want their child to be healthy and happy?  In fact, I would say, there has been given to us a responsibility from God to help our children stay as healthy as possible.  But happy?  When did that kernel of apostasy creep into our theology?  As Christian parents, our duty has never been to make our children happy, but rather to make them holy.  Of course, we can't make them anything - only God can.  And though it is within our nature as parents to always strive to keep our children happy, it has never and will never be my job to make my children happy above all.  My job as a parent is to show my children by words and deeds how to be godly.  Anything else and I will have effectively taken my children by their little hands and led them down a path of unrighteousness.

It is not only acceptable by society's standards these days, but rather strongly encouraged, that we all need to live lives of happiness.  I don't think I need to point out our society has become a very selfish one, marketing their selfish agenda on all us innately selfish beings, as if the concept of "deserving it all" is a unique one.  God may have first created mankind to be holy and happy, however with mankind's fall, we found ourselves born into a state of sin and misery.  This is the condition of our society today.  

Today's new mantra of "just be who you are and love it" is a confusing and erroneous concept yet it's a message constantly fed to us and our children.  It's not an unnatural idea to raise our children to be and accept "who they were born to be."   Lady Gaga's new song "Born This Way" illustrates a secular humanist philosophy wrapped up in positive self-esteem...

"There's nothin' wrong with lovin' who you are, 
She said, 'Cause He made you perfect, babe.  
So hold your head up, girl, and you, you'll go far.  
Listen to me when I say: 

I'm beautiful in my own way, 
'Cause God makes no mistakes.  
I'm on the right track baby, 
I was born this way.

Don't hide yourself in regret,
Just love yourself and you're set
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way, yeah."  

Don't get me wrong - I want my children to have good self-esteem and love themselves as God loves them.  I just want them to understand that self-worth comes from who they are in Christ, not in their "innate perfection" touted by secular humanists.  The Bible specifically says, "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me."1  and "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?"2  and "As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” 3

If I see my child, by "being who they were born to be", choosing a path of ungodliness and Self, my job as a parent is to hold up a mirror of God's standards to help them change into who God wants them to be - which is like His Son - not what they want to be and not what I want them to be.  I, myself, am a work in progress and "I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in [me] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."If I am directed to let God continually work in my life to become more like Him, I am directed to help Him continually work in my child's life as well.  "Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it."There is no mention of my child being born on the right path or letting them discover the right path by themselves.  It denotes a heavy responsibility to always steer them towards righteousness.
Helping our children recognize and choose God's standards of righteousness for their lives is not only key to my responsibility as their parent but essential to their ultimate joy in life . 
I don't know about you, but I want my children to receive their strength, their joy and their worth through the only One who can sufficiently give them, not looking within themselves to find something that was never there at birth nor can be found with maturity. The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. Psalm 28:7

In this season of sacrifice while we observe Lent and Good Friday, let us teach our child(ren) to "let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
"The joy of the Lord is your strength."  Nehemiah 8:10

Note: I am not advocating self-contempt here and understand that one of the biggest issues/disorders we have today is the lack of self-esteem in our children and in ourselves.  I believe this comes from not knowing who we are in Christ and am simply urging us to find our worth in Christ, not in ourselves.  

P.S. I apologize for the excessive clip art I've inserted into this blog post, however I have to admit there were so many "Love Yourself" images, I had a hard time choosing which ones to it illustrates my point quite nicely.
1. Psalm 51:5
2. Jeremiah 17:9
3. Romans 3:10-12
4. Philippians 1:6
5. Proverbs 22:6
6. Matthew 16:24b-25
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...