Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Priorities in Parenting

I've had some conversations with a friend recently that have caused me to really stop and consider the reason I parent the way I do. I've done a lot of reflection about how I was raised, what I respond to (and what I don't) and the vision Bobby and I hold for our children and family. (I'm definitely not making a claim that there is only one "right" way to parent! These are just things that I have been contemplating.)

Here is one of the main verses that continually comes to mind as I think about this topic.
Mark 7:6b
"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."

I would absolutely agree that our style is not based solely on obedience - it is because our goal is to reach the hearts of the children, to foster relationships that encourage and inspire them to good works, rather than focusing on the works themselves.
We probably say yes to things when others may believe we should say no.

While listening a Keller sermon a few days ago about repentance that someone else (Jody) suggested, (I would link to it myself, but I can't find it anymore - sorry) he made a valuable point that our response to God, our personal repentance, can and will be different based on our view of God. If He is a purely a powerful Creator able to execute His judgement and wrath upon us, our response to Him may be rooted in fear of consequence. If we see Him as our loving, gracious, merciful Father, our response to grieving a God who has been good and tender toward us, chastising us with love, will be different. Our godly sorrow can be because we have grieved the heart of our Father, not because we are scared about being viewed as "bad" and worthy of punishment.

Bobby and I see parenting much the same way. We are not in this to raise little german shepards who simply heed the call of our voice. There is a certain level of that, sure. Especially in the younger years. But as the kids age and mature, one of our ultimate and primary purposes is helping them to develop their own consciences. Their own personal responses to their parents, and to God. So they may hear His voice of conviction, not just the voice of their dad and mom. So they may make their own decisions to esteem Him Lord over all, through all, in all. We are here to nurture and usher in that kind of relationship with Him, and in turn we believe our relationships with them will flourish.

Phariseeism is attractive from all basic appearances. It makes us as parents look very competent and nice to have perfectly obedient children doing all the right things and taking appropriate and acceptable actions. People may applaud that and praise us for our obvious good work. Surely we must have our act together!

God is the searcher of hearts and He will know the difference between the core of a being who yearns for Him and one who is concerned with keeping up appearances. Who are we aiming to please?

Our prayer for our little ones is that God would draw them near to Him, in the depth of their being. Down where no one else sees. When they are alone with their Maker. Where true character resides. So that outward appearances mean very little to them. So they may be liberated to worship freely. Free from obligation. That they may have a heart of love and a motivation for genuine relationship that produces good, sweet, tangible, lovely, fruit.

Where repentance and a desire to be right with God is a way of life, not because they are bad, but because He is so very good.


Lisa Stucky said...

I couldn't have said it better myself! Still enjoying your blog!

Anastasia said...

Ahh, yes my friend, yes!

Anonymous said...

Was the "Keller" sermon you listened to Timothy Keller? If so, love the stuff that guy writes. I have read 2 of his books and come away challenged and examining some stuff in my brain/heart. Love, love, love the parenting philosopy; it's ours too, though I wouldn't say we do it all that well. The thing about the heart approach is that you really need the HS to guide you, which means you need to be surrendered...which for me, not always easy.
have a lovely day! --jen

Tisha said...

Hi Jen ☺
Yes, it was Timothy Keller. He is just as excellent in communicating verbally as he is in his books! I listened to that sermon twice in a row, it was so rich. Really clarifying and convicting. It was not about parenting, but it made me think of our parenting goals.
Great point you make about needing to be surrendered to the HS. Yes, I agree! It not always easy! And I definitely often fall short.
Thanks for taking the time to comment! :)

Courtney said...

that is EXACTLY What i'm reading/learning in gospel-powered parenting. it's so good. i know i owe you more of an asked and i haven't gotten around to it. i hope to soon.
but, for now, THAT'S what it says!

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