Parenting well is an art. There are times when it requires bold strokes from the pallet to the canvas. Other times, the movements are delicate, even subtle. Shades of color and creativity are blended to become a reflection of the hand of the artist.
In the gentle art of parenting, however, the parent must acknowledge that he or she is not the artist. The parent is only the paintbrush. The Lord Jesus Christ is the painter, attempting to paint a picture in the life of a child. The parent fills a vital role in the process, but the parent is only a steward of something that does not really belong to him. The ultimate objective of parenting is to let go. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother…”
There has been a considerable amount of teaching today, especially in the context of home educating families, which has been directed toward maintaining long term family relationships. There has been a desire to counter the cultural norm to forsake parenting responsibilities by releasing them continuously to the care of others. That desire is good, and generally has been very appropriate. Our culture has violated the Biblical directives toward parenting, with the dreadful fruit of very broken families. There is no doubt that we must reshape the thinking of a new generation of parents.
There has, however, also been an extremist reaction to the need of our day. I call it “parental ownership”. The desire to keep our children, to shape their choices, to direct their future, has become obsessive to the point of overthrowing their future altogether.
Biblical parenting works to prepare a child, from the earliest age, not to be dependent upon the governing influence of the parent, but to become self-governed under the directing influence of the Holy Spirit of God, thereby being equipped to make Godly choices as a member of Christ’s Kingdom. It is a lack of confidence, lack of faith if you will, in the sufficiency of the ability of the Spirit of Christ to reach into the heart of a child that would cause a parent to attempt to control the life decisions of an adult child. Fear has driven many parents to the point of denying their children the opportunity to discern the will of God for themselves.
There is much teaching on the way that will assist you as a parent, whether you are still in the toddler stage or facing the decisions of marital partners for your children, which will attempt to allow for a healthy arrival of your child as a responsible contributing member of Christ’s Kingdom. May the Lord Jesus Christ grant you wisdom as you pursue His design for your family.