Have you ever wondered what it would have been like if Jesus had children? And to have His parenting style recorded in the Bible? He could show us how to be the “perfect” parent — best tips for bedtime routines, how to deal with kids talking back, finding the perfect balance of game time and learning, and how to manage conflict among siblings. Wouldn’t that be valuable information to be shared!
Instead, the Bible is full of stories of parents getting it wrong: a father’s favouritism, a mother’s lies, a father’s ignorance. Maybe these stories were included so that we could feel a bit better about ourselves while raising our families!
It is quite easy to feel inadequate as parents — we all have our shortcomings and fail at times. We constantly question our approach to technology, discipline, sibling conflicts and health issues. We wonder whether we are instilling values of integrity, honesty and compassion in our children.
Though these are valid and important concerns, we have to continually remind ourselves about what it all comes down to: that our children know and love God and live a life of faith and obedience to Him.
In light of this desire and goal, in our family we have intentionally added prayer and Bible reading into our daily routine. We also attend our church regularly and are involved in its various ministries. We trust these practices will give our children a foundation to learn and discover more about Jesus and His character.
We have also added another element. We have invited others to be involved in our kids’ lives, helping them grow and mature in their faith.
In his lecture “Membership,” C.S Lewis suggests that we truly know someone through community, as we see their interaction and engagement with others. When we parent our children alongside people who know Jesus, our children will discover more of who He is. This provides an opportunity for them to grow in their own relationship with the one who loves them best.
These relationships are an opportunity for our children to hear testimonies of what God has done in other people’s lives. They discover how others have grown in faith as they experienced struggles and life’s circumstances. These stories, though different from what we could share as parents, have faith in Jesus at the core. These interactions can have a profound and lasting impact on our children — we know this first hand!
We have been parents for almost 19 years now and have discovered that it’s challenging to do on our own. Yes, as parents, we are the most influential people in our children’s lives. But as we have encouraged our kids to form relationships with other Christ-followers, we have found tremendous support and encouragement! Whether they are youth leaders, Christian peers, family friends, teachers or coaches, we are grateful to have godly influences who encourage our kids to grow in their faith.
You can learn more about parenting your children towards godly relationships and building faith that lasts by watching this workshop we taught at the FamilyLife Canada Parenting Conference.