What’s in a Word? – Parenthood

“…It doesn’t matter! Hakuna Matata!”  “What?”  “Hakuna Matata. It’s something I learned out here….Look! Sometimes bad things happen and there’s nothing you can do about it, so why worry?” “Because it’s your responsibility!” 

This exchange between Simba and Nala in the Disney Classic, The Lion King led to one of the most important parental conversations my husband Gene and I would ever have! We had, as the core vision for our children, that they would grow up to know the One true God, embrace His Son Jesus Christ as their Lord and live godly, blessed lives.

Rewind several years to when the organization in which we originally learned the Scriptures virtually imploded, rendering us spiritually disconnected and floundering through what life had to offer or throw at us ever since. The confrontation cited above smacked of the conversation God wanted to have (was having?) with us as parents. Our conversation continued once the kiddos, then 2 & 4 years old, were tucked into bed: “We’ve GOT to teach these kids the Word! How are we gonna do that?” 

The words of Deuteronomy 6 (among others), came screaming to the forefront: 4“Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh alone! 5Therefore you are to love Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6These words that I command you this day are to be in your heart, 7and you are to repeat them over and over to your children and are to talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

We knew that we had no chance of parenting well without our own reservoirs filled, from which to pour into our children, so the very next morning we set out on our renewed journey. By the providential hand of God, within a week, we had received our first batch of resources from Christian Educational Services (ironically, the parent organization of STF!)

As God’s fellow-laborers, parenting, as any other sacred charge we receive, is meant to be carried out in relationship with our Heavenly Father, our Lord Jesus and with help from our brothers and sisters on the same journey. He is faithful Who promised… and God sure has, and continues to, provide what we need to continue to parent our now-adult children. There is great joy in the journey! 

– Janet Speakes

What is Parenthood?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines parenthood as “the position, function, or standing of a parent; one that begets or brings forth offspring; a person who brings up and cares for another.”

There are lots of varieties to parenthood, each with its own unique set of challenges. There’s biological parenthood—mother, father, and the children that come from their union. But there are also stepparents, adoptive parents, foster parents, surrogate parents (where one fills a parental role without any kind of legal responsibility), legal guardians, kinship care (when grandparents raise grandchildren), and more!  

God is deeply invested in the family unit and He deeply wants for families to be whole and successful. No matter what variety of parent you are, God’s word can help you raise and train up wonderful little humans!

What Does the Bible Say About Parenthood?

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Ephesians 6:4 – Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Hebrews 12:7 – It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

How Can I Be a Good Parent/Guardian? 

One of the reasons parenthood is such an important subject to God is because the parent/child relationship in the temporal is meant to mirror the deeper spiritual reality of how God relates to His children—us! That’s why the wisdom of Proverbs and other sections of Scripture portray a relationship that is a balance of love and discipline, evoking clear boundary lines of respect and instructing a relationship without unjust provocation, aggravation, contempt, or disinterest from either side. 

To be a good parent is to follow God’s example; to balance love and discipline, to keep boundaries, to instruct fairly and treat your children, whether young or grown, like fully-formed people made in the image of God. Accept that you will not always do this perfectly, but never stop trying to be your best; always remember that most children derive their outlook on God from their relationship with their parents, so in parenthood, just as in all things, try your utmost to display godly qualities.

Equally as important: be honest when you make a mistake. Be willing to apologize to other adults and to your children. Show the value of redemption and forgiveness as well as the strength of parenthood. Never forget you are a flawed human raising flawed humans—but lean into the God for the strength to raise them well. Seek His wisdom as you train your children, and He will direct your steps.

Always remember that parenthood, like any step of the life journey, is not taken alone; God is with you. He is ready and willing to help. He wants to help you mirror that deeper spiritual reality in a way that blesses you and your children and brings glory and honor to Him; don’t be afraid to reach out to Him for guidance and wisdom to become the best parent you can possibly be!

Take Action!

Take time this week to surrender your children’s lives, their futures, and your walk as a parent to God. Ask Him to lead you into new and better ways of rearing those small humans He’s entrusted to you, and/or to support and mentor your grown children. Make the conscious choice to make parenting a you-and-God together thing, not just you alone!

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