Parenting Through Darkness. . .
Yes, you can!
“Even a child is known by his deeds, whether or not what he does is pure and right.” Prov 20:11
I’ve entered that joyous yet odd stage in life where I get to watch my child raise his child. The joy part is obvious—my grandson. But the odd part includes a fiendish satisfaction that comes with watching my grown child experience everything I did: change post blow-out diapers, accept spit-up offerings, make silly noises to get that spoonful of oatmeal into the baby’s mouth only to watch it cascade down the front of his new outfit. And, of course, those sleepless nights. Bah ha ha ha ha—Then I cease laughing and think … Parenting is character building at its best.
I believe it’s harder to raise children today than it was 2 decades ago. In fact, the rampant violence and questionable educational philosophies could make the thought of child rearing undesirable.
As widespread tragedy overtakes the media, I try to remember that both victim and perpetrator share a common factor.
Read the following character descriptions and then imagine with me how each of these youth might turn out:
1) A gifted orator/leader who has a vision to influence his nation and the world. (Hmm … sounds promising)
2) A12 year old who attempts suicide after his grandmother’s death. (Uh oh. Major PTSD)
3) A rich young woman, engaged to marry, and who participates in her father’s charities. (Promising future?)
4) Born into wealth, but at age 8, lost all financial security when her father died. (Did she end up homeless? Did someone sell her?)
You may have paired several names with each of the above description, but I chose these four because you’ve likely heard of them. Respectively: Adolph Hitler, Martin Luther King Jr., Lizzy Borden, and Mother Teresa.
Besides being human, what do these four diverse characters have in common? PARENTS
Yes, these four are examples of the extremes, but no one knew the future of these bundles of joy when they popped out of the oven. You could argue that two were raised by god-fearing parents while the other two were not. You could also blame circumstances.
My husband and I aimed for the best. We educated ourselves on parenting. But only time would reveal if our children would become our glory or our shame.
Does this suggest that child rearing is a hit or miss responsibility? Based on God’s promises that are too many to list here, I don’t believe so. However, have you been judged by others for the way your children act? Have you played the role of judge? I wouldn’t be surprised if you “felt” inadequately equipped since even the government is telling this generation of parents they don’t know how to raise their children. “Let the professionals handle it.”
We, as parents, missed the mark in many ways. Neither my husband or I grew up in homes with Christian morals/values, and so we scrambled to find models and resources to help us raise Christ-centered children.
Our homeschooled kids honed social skills through volunteer opportunities and by helping host parties for both neighborhood folks and for corporate executives. Their travels around the world prevented them from becoming USA-centric—they’re patriotic yet appreciative of different cultures. We’ve served the poor side-by-side to help give them a love for humanity.
We read every recommended Christian parenting book. Sadly, I’ve come across several resources today and thought, if only I had that 2 decades ago.
As Dr. James Dobson says, you can do everything right . . . and your child still might choose an undesired path.
Human will: God gave us this power source as a gift. Instilling in us a free will was a radical act of love on His part.
So if I could encourage young parents of today, I’d say:
And no matter what stage of childrearing you’re in, don’t fall victim to the devil’s lies that tell you you’re a failure.
If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and you’re seeking Him daily, then cling to the truth: “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John
If you’re a caring parent, you’re already a winning parent.