What does successful parenting look like? Can a child’s life be ruined by something I do as a parent? Are there things I can do to set my child up for their future?
Prospective parents wonder what raising children is really like. New parents wish they were given a user manual for this parenting thing. Experienced parents begin to see mistakes we have made and look for ways to make things better. Grandparents, extended family, children’s and youth workers in church, or parachurch want to know how they can help. As Christians, we all want to know what God has in mind for our families.
Successful Parenting Made Simple: One Focus
So where do we start? Two essential biblical ideas set up successful parents to get the right start in raising their children. I am sure that every parent (and especially every Christian parent) is concerned to see their children raised to with good moral character and a strong mind. These traits are really the fundamental goals of all education. Education is more than just a family concern (though it is that). The shaping of hearts and minds is a vital concern for any society. It has always been so. It is true for every political community and no less true for the church, as a religious society. How do parents ensure that they raise kids with character?
First, Getting on the Same Page
“Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction” (Amos 3:3 NLT). When we were engaged, my (then fiancé, now) wife and I talked about our philosophy of parenting. We discussed what we hoped to accomplish, and what we hoped to avoid. Occasional we discovered conflicting viewpoints. So we talked through them, because ultimately, we were both on the same page.
We set a few goals, which we have tried to put into practice when we had actual children. Many people are great parents, with all the answers, until they had real children. Recognizing this, we accepted that our plans would have to be flexible.
Second, Setting a Core Mandate
But there were a few things we would refuse to budge on. We wanted our kids to grow up to love God, to be good people, and to have the kind of character that would allow them to be successful in all of life.
In our minds, a good part of this desired spiritual direction, moral/ethical compass, and practical success would come as through our examples. And our examples would need to illustrate the knowledge we wanted to instilled in them.
One biblical truism states, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 ESV). There is some debate about the best way to formally translate this saying, but the meaning is clear: the direction a child’s will starts to go in his or her earliest years has a proverbial impact on how they will end up as adults.
Successful parenting means recognizing that we are positioned to have a significant impact on shaping the character of our children. The hearts and minds of little ones are given into our care. Find out how to begin inspiring young minds to shape the future of their lives.