How hard can that be?
Today I read an a post on parenting. New parents, Christian parents, never get tired of reading the secrets to success in parenting, it seems. Forgive me if I am tired of it. Forgive me if I seem short and cranky when I write about this. I don’t mean to rant, but I have been parenting for 30 some solid years now. I have been through the wringer, because I have tried very hard to follow the advice and I have had to hold fast in some very difficult storms. Storms that threatened to shipwreck our home, at times.
And placebo advice can make me feel grief that is difficult to restrain and redirect. Because all those well meaning voices truly..mean well. But I decided to tell you all the truth. Real, Godly parenting is both extremely simple and extremely hard. It is just plain hard, and you cannot guarantee either your outcomes or your pathway. You are going to have to come to grips that only God can do that- and some families seem to have more grace than others, although I think we can rely upon God to give more when that is called for.
You have to parent daily.
You have to build bridges of communication.
You have to put yourself aside and put your child’s needs forefront.
You need as much consistancy as you can possibly muster.
There is no one method.
You are human.
You have no final control over the circumstances of life, only over yourself( and that is more than most of us can handle).
The hard means there are influences other than yourself that will factor into your childs life. Not all of those influences are healthy or helpful. You are coming into this with influences and factors of your own, in personality and upbringing. Society is not sympathetic to you, and no one will give you a break, parenting has become an unthankful job.
The simple means that there are things that work. It means that children are flexible and forgiving, and they love you and will respond to what you put into them, beyond what you might expect. The simple does not mean that these are easy things to do, but that they don’t take lots of training or even wisdom to accomplish. They just are time-tested ways that parenting works.
God’s Way in parenting means you pray alot. That is what following God’s way in anything will entail- lots of people get parenting quite well- they have things built into them, or they work hard at building relationships, but if you are going to parent as a Christian it is as simple and as hard as the rest of your relationship with Him. I wish that I had listened more fully to God and less so to the well-meaning teachers and experts. I wish I had had less well meaning interventionists in the Church- who second guessed all my parenting, and more loving rebukes, like some of my friends gave me, that were along the lines of common sense.
We still have the whitewashing of sepulchres as the approved methodology of the Church. Shame on us for that. If we did more to support and love the young mothers and fathers and children of the Church- that would go much farther to producing godliness amongst us than tens of thousands of programs, seminars, and well advertised books.
But we dont. That would just be too simple, and doesn’t swell the coffers near as much…doesn’t make for great statistics,either; although it could go a long way to reduce those shameful other sorts of statistics that the Church now wants to explain away…divorce, pornography use, and all the other stuff that lonely broken people are helpless to resist.
So forgive me if I have tears when you are wringing your hands over how horrible the world is and how much you want to tsk-tsk and herd together.
Be willing, instead, to keep communication open when it is so very, very hard, because all your standards have been tossed aside, and you are forced to see the damage and hurt that you wanted to protect that child from come to pass. Keep open and cry and pray all night because you can’t sleep. Understand that all the teaching in the world is only in hope of a open ear. And sometimes it will take time to create that between you and your child. Understand that there are strong lies in our society, and you will not win the battle against all of them. But keep trying. Keep the faith, so your child will have somewhere to return if the decision to go the Prodigal’s way is chosen.
Keep the fires burning and keep the door unlatched. Love them.
That is all I can tell you. And I am sorry that I cannot applaud your methods and your exteme enthusiasm. Because I know it’s endurance that wins the day in this thing… and that we are quite weak in our ability to walk in humility and love. But I hope the best for us all… it is the highest of callings to raise the generation that will continue after we have all gone. It is worth the sacrifices and the investment.
Invest more in the child than in the method. It pays a far better return.