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Three Pressures Every Christian Parent Ought to Resist

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
 
                                          Colossians 2:8

 
In every age, there are certain winds of change which blow that we ought to resist. As Colossians 2:8 implies, these winds of change are assumptions, beliefs, and values that are driven by a philosophy that is antithetical to Christ.  If we are not discerning, we will fall prey to them.  After thirteen years of pastoring and twelve years of parenting, I see three powerful and pervasive winds that continue to blow hard against parents today.

1) The pressure to own it all.

I live in a very affluent suburb of a small city.  My family lives in a cape cod home that was a dream house for families in the 1950’s.  It’s not the dream home of 2021.  The size pales in comparison to more modern homes.  But it’s our home and we’re content with it.  I’ve noticed a trend over the last 10-15 years that newer parents want everything NOW that took our parents a lifetime to save for. On one hand, I’m all for enjoying the fruit of our labors.  After all, God has richly provided everything for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17). But, let’s not give into the pressure to have it all at the expense of seeking God’s kingdom first (Matthew 6:33).  Instead of solely focusing on our own dreams, let’s be sure were chasing down the God-sized dream of the kingdom of heaven.
 
2) The pressure to think you know it all.
 
We live in age which offers no lack of information on any subject including parenting.  Just because you read some books and a bunch of parenting blogs written by your peers doesn’t mean you know it all.  Books and blogs can be helpful.  They can be the instrument of wise counselors that Proverbs commends (15:22; 20:18).  But, a podcast or blog can never replace the wise counsel of older mothers and fathers in our midst who have gone before us (Titus 2:3-5). So, humble yourself and resist the pressure to think you know it all.  You don’t and you never will.  You can, however, grow in wisdom by seeking out the experience of an older mature father or mother who can help you navigate the parenting challenges you face today.

3) The pressure to make your children your all.

There is a relatively new term for making your child, your world.  It’s called kindergarchy. Kindergarchy, according to Joseph Epstein, is when “all arrangements are centered on the children: their schooling, their lessons, their predilections, their care, feeding, and general high maintenance.” Now, before I start receiving nasty emails claiming that I’m advocating we parents ignore our children, hear me out.

First of all, Jesus didn’t make his family, His world.  On one occasion while Jesus was heavily involved in ministry, someone in the crowd informed him that his brother and mother arrived to see him.  The expectation was that Jesus would drop everything to attend to their needs.  He didn’t.  Instead he responded by saying in Luke 8:21, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” Jesus dropped a truth bomb.  In one statement, Jesus put our earthly families in their proper place.  Earthly families have a penultimate purpose.  Our families, our children are not the ultimate purpose in life.  They are indeed great gifts but they are not God. The family, including our children are designed to serve the mission of God to the glory of God.

Second of all, by making your children your all, you aren’t helping them; you’re hurting them. Children weren’t mean to bear this burden to be the center of your universe.  That place is reserved for Jesus alone.  Instead of making children the focus of your family, make Jesus the center.  Making Jesus your world will bode well for you and your child now and as well as for the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8).  Lead your family to love and life for Jesus right where you are.  Unite your family to love Jesus and His family, the Church.  In doing so, your family will receive love, support, and your children will see Christ-like role models who can help mold them into great Christian men and women.

These pressures are real.  I feel them, do you?  We would be wise to recognize them and resist them.  If we’re not careful, it’s easy to become short sighted in our parenting and only think of the present.  While the short-term gains may be rewarding for us and our kids, think of the long-term spiritual wins we may be robbing our children.  As Proverbs 22:6 reminds us, we have the privilege and responsibility to train up a child in the way they should go.  And the way they ought to go and grow is the way of Jesus.  His way isn’t easy, but the gain is well worth the pain of resisting the pressure to conform to winds of this age.

Pastor Tim

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