We’re All Parents – Some of Us Just Have Kids

65294_10200932839150099_1427605294_nOn Sunday we are going to look at a major issue for all of us as Christians. We are looking at parenting.

You might actually want to push back a little bit. You might be asking, “Is it a major issue for all of us? What about those of us without kids? What about those of us with grown kids? What about those of us who never want kids?”

Well I hate to be the one to tell you…but if you are a follower of Jesus you are a parent.

That’s right. As followers of Jesus in a community we all matter in ensuring that the next generation launches well. You are a model and an example, even if you aren’t a biological parent.

Stanley Hauerwas writes it this way: Christians, single and married, are parents. “Parent” names an office of the Christian community that everyone in the  community is expected faithfully to fulfill.

And he is absolutely right. We all have a responsibility with the youth we, as a community, have been entrusted with. Kids matter. Youth matter. And you matter too in developing a caring community that launches them well. So yes parenting is a major issue for all Christians.

And come Sunday we are going to look at how to launch our kids well. I’m going to share with you three things that I think are really key. But before we get there what about you? What do you think is key in raising kids as a community? What did your parents do – that worked so wonderfully? What have you learned not to do from your parents?

Because the reality for good or bad, we have all been shaped by parenting. Whether that’s good parents, bad parents, or non-existent parents. The question we want to discover is then for those in our care and community how can we raise them well. How can we launch them well? What do you think?

Disciplining with Devotional Books

541684_10152743540730643_546879791_nI have recently run into a new parenting problem. So for all you who have been parents longer here is my problem. Our little boy Hudson does not want to go to sleep recently. Instead, when I go upstairs to bed he is often still up, with a little light on in his room reading. And when I walk in he says, “Daddy go away, I reading, I be quiet, it’s okay”.
Now normally when he is reading we would just take the book away and be done with it. But here is the issue: he’s reading his devotions.
That’s right, my little boy is breaking his bed-time by reading about God. Can you tell he’s a pastor’s kid? I mean how do you discipline someone who is reading his devotions? He says, “Daddy I just reading my devotions for a little bit [which is actually like 1.5 hours]. Daddy it’s okay”
Do I like having a sleepy and cranky boy in the mornings? No. Do I want to discourage him from this amazing habit? No.
So here is what I’ve learned. That it is sometimes wise to see the bigger picture. Paul says, “Dad’s don’t aggravate your kids” in Ephesians. And Paul is right. It is so easy to aggravate our kids, to win a little battle but miss the bigger picture. I could make this into an issue, but I’d be losing out because I want my son to feel so connected to God that it permeates his entire little life and spills out all over the place. And I think this matters, because so often we see the little issue but not the bigger picture. We ground our kids, but miss the fact that in us yelling they feel unloved. We take away their toys when they do something bad, but can actually squash their independence and creativity. The point is to see the bigger picture before making decisions.
I am not someone who thinks we should just let our kids do anything for fear of “squelching their development”. Instead, I want to guide, raise, and train up my son in the best way possible. I want him to go to bed on time, and read his devotions. I don’t want to win with one issue and lose the other.
So when as parents we have these odd moments here’s what I do. I wait before I make a decision, try to see the bigger picture, and try to make the best decision that has the best results long-term.
So in my bed-time breaking devotion reading boy – what did we do? Simple we put him to bed earlier. That’s right earlier. If he wants to read his devotions in bed, awesome! So now we put him to bed earlier so he can read his devotions, and still make it to bed on time. This is a win-win. Paul’s right, don’t aggravate your kids, raise them. The difference is often subtle but it matters a lot.