Position Paper on Parenting

16 Jan

Recently, I have been surrounded with questions about parenting. It first began about eight and a half years ago when I became a parent, and then became elevated when I wrote a statement about parents being mean to their kids. It then reached its zenith when I began to talk about how wonderful my parents were.

Let me start by saying that if you want real good parenting advice, go look here or here or potentially many other good teachers in the area. Nevertheless, I think there is a good, basic approach to parenting that is important.

I was reminded by my good friend, Paul Hunt, last night that we often consider the behavior of our children of paramount importance, but that is really not the most important thing. This is the crux of my position on parenting. I know people whose children are amazingly well behaved, but the children act out of fear, don’t feel a real love of their parents, and see authority in a completely improper perspective.

Some may talk about the damaging effects this has long term, and I could certainly assert some, but I want to talk more about the immediate effect. Having children who behave is nice, but it is not the ultimate end. The end is to introduce your children to the living God so that they might become better people, employees or employers, citizens, and even parents themselves.

I believe the best way to do that is to grip their hearts. Because real change is impossible without changing your heart, it is vital that this be the core. All the behavior adjustment done for other reasons will not yield lifelong results and are, therefore, just not as important. While very difficult to place focus here, when craziness is happening all around, anything less will give you at best temporary, ill-purposed results, which are less than ideal.

To allow children to know that you love them and that is your motivation behind everything is important to child rearing. That love will allow them to be more real with you. A child who merely fears his parents will never be able to confess to them in a full way; he’ll never be able disagree with them in a way that causes growth. I’ve been known to say that if you don’t disagree with your parents about something, you probably aren’t convicted of anything yourself. Stifling this growth does not benefit them.

Lastly, I think it is important to get them to obey and follow social rules and norms. While behavior is not the most important thing, it is something that needs to exist. No one likes hanging around the kids who are crazy all the time. If they are behaving well for the proper reasons, then you are on to something. Of course, the knowledge that no child is perfect is all too obvious.

Parenting is the occupation that is lifelong and never completely finished, though it does change greatly over the years. At some point, your role turns into a largely advisory one. It must be nice if you can sit back and realize that the bulk of your work is done and that your kids are pretty great. While I am concentrating on the rearing of my children, I pray that my parents are able to say that about me. Of course, I’m too busy making sure my children are behaving to really find out. ๐Ÿ™‚


One Response to “Position Paper on Parenting”

  1. Jenni April 17, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    1) Your children are amazing!!! 2) When my children are misbehaving in such a way that embarrasses me, it is not exactly fun, but it is nearly always the perfect time for me to allow God to do a heart adjustment on me, to make sure that my priorities for them are the best things and simply behavior-oriented. 3) I like your quote about disagreement with your parents being related to conviction in your life. And 4) Your parents raised great kids. ๐Ÿ™‚

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