“Nothing is more important in life than being one of God’s tools to form a human soul.“Paul D. Tripp
When we were growing up, the typical life pattern was this: (1) go to college (2) get married (3) start a career and (4) have children–in that order. It was just what you did. That pattern has changed, with more people putting marriage and children off to first pursue lucrative careers. Often we hear people say they are waiting to start a family until they were in a better position financially.
The issue with this mindset is that the number one principle of parenting is quickly overlooked…and that foundational principle where we begin this series is that PARENTING IS A CALLING.
A calling is not just a profession or trade, but it is also a strong inclination to something. If we go into parenting as just the next step in our life’s pattern, it can become just another profession. But what if we entered into parenting with a different perspective? What if we truly viewed parenting as a life-long calling to grow disciples for God’s kingdom?
Calling is discussed in the first chapter of the book we are walking through together this fall: Parenting, by Paul Tripp.
In this chapter, he discusses the “owner verses ambassador” mindset to parenting explaining how we are God’s ambassadors to help form the souls of our children. To be the ambassadors we are called to be, we must be willing to engage in the spiritual warfare we face in our own lives and in the lives of our children.
I admit it. Often, when in the trenches of being a stay-at-home mom, I get sick of asking my children to do the same things over and over again. When they ask me “why”, instead of explaining that I am trying to raise them to love God, I say “Because I said so, that’s why!” But having my children submit to me just because I am their mom in no way helps them to see God’s grace or points them to His kingdom. Demanding obedience may be the easier way to get what we want in the present, but it may lead to anger, fear or rebellion in the future.
I have truly strived to work on this over the years. I can honestly say that when I take time to explain why I am asking my kids to do whatever it is I am asking of them, it often opens up new depth to our conversations.
“Here’s what you need to understand: everything you do and say in your life, every choice you make and everything you decide to invest in is a reflection of a system of internalized values in your heart.”Paul D. Tripp
It’s so important to understand that what we value carries over to our children. At the end of the day, does what we value match up with what God values? If not, then we are parenting with the wrong purpose from the start.
With this in mind, let’s take some time this week to reflect on these areas in our life:
- Where we are spending our time?
- What do our spiritual habits look like?
- How we are treating the people we live with?
So often, we want someone to give us the parenting handbook that shows us exactly the steps we need to take to be sure our children turn out a certain way. But friends, that handbook doesn’t exist.
Rather, when we realize we are called to parenting, and make decisions based on our calling to help form our children’s souls towards God and His kingdom, the “how to’s of parenting” will fall into place. This means our calling as parents must be prioritized over material possessions, careers, hobbies, ministry or other areas that often times we allow to take precedence over our children.
God values parenting so much that He demonstrates a parenting relationship within the Trinity.
He never intended the church, government, schools, or other organizations to replace the role of the parent in a child’s life. Sadly, many of us willingly allow these well intended places to take our place. Instead, we should let the value God places on parenting be the motivation behind our every thought, decision and action as parents.
This week, let’s point our children to the Gospel story in each encounter we are given with them.
May God bless you and your family,
Hilton Head Christian Academy‘s Life+ blog was created to equip today’s Christian parents with practical tools, thought provoking content, and honest conversation.
This fall, we look forward to parenting alongside all of you through a new series based on a life-giving book by Pastor Paul Tripp: Parenting: 14 Gospel principles that can radically change your family.
Each week we will unpack them chapter by chapter right here on the Life+ blog. We hope you’ll grab a copy and dive in with us, taking time to discuss each principle with your own family and the people God has placed in your life.