The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. As we strive daily to teach our children strong values and Godly principles, I often wonder how we’re doing. Dealing with the ever shifting cultural standards, the pressures from the outside that scream, “You’re too old fashion!” “You’re intolerant!” “You’re behind the times,” I am tempted, almost daily, to question my motives, intentions and purpose for setting these “rules,” these boundaries, these standards by which we live. Having a young teen in our home, one who is striving to find himself, to determine his own faith, ‘not that of mom and dad,’ and to become the man he so longs to be, it causes me, at times, to pause, to ponder, to almost take a poll to see if I’m doing right by him, if I’m teaching him these things for his own good or for mine.
Good parenting doesn’t come easy. Good parenting isn’t a popularity contest. It isn’t a survey we take to see who approves and who doesn’t. Good parenting takes faithfulness to the One who created it. It takes a lot of love, mercy and grace. Good parenting takes tenacity to carry on, to uphold your standards and to stick to your convictions, even when you’re all alone and “nobody else is doing it!”
The best kind of parent has the faith to remain a boundary while all others run away in fear of ridicule. The best kind of parent stands with courage in the face of rejection and loneliness. The best kind of parent has also learned when to say, “I’m sorry. I was wrong,” even when it hurts their pride to do so. The best kind of parent loves beyond the failings, keeps believing beyond the mishaps and keeps cheering beyond the cold winds of adversity. The best kind of parent knows when to push forward and when to pause and let them breathe. Lastly, the best kind of parent keeps loving when the door to their child’s heart has been slammed shut, and it appears he/she will never come back home.
Good parenting skills don’t come easy. It’s not a game in which you roll the dice and see if you hit the jackpot. No, good parenting takes faith. It takes determination. It takes a strong heart to love deep and remain true. It takes a strong mind to think the unthinkable, to plan for the unpredictable and to dream the unimaginable. It takes humility, love and grace for success to come, and, sometimes, that success may not be realized for almost a lifetime.
In this one thing you can rest assured, His Word does not fail. His promises are true. You train that child to follow Him, they will know the way home. Yes, it will have to be their choosing; He will never force their hand. He will never demand their love, but He will be ever present, ever drawing them with His love that is unconditional, His love that never fails.
So, keep the faith, Mom. Hold up that standard, Dad. Remain true to the One who called you to this purpose. You can do this! You can survive! Those little hearts are counting on you. They need your love. They need your guidance. They need your boundaries that protect them from the evil outside. They need your standards that protect them from themselves. Keep the faith! You only have a few years to fight this battle for the souls of the next generation. Don’t give up. Don’t give in, and never let them see you cower in fear. You were made for this. This is your destiny. Win!
…These are the moments when my heart is reassured that we are on the right path…
His dream is to be a Christian Rapper…so, we work hard to help him realize his dreams even while he is still young…
At bedtime, we find him like this more often than not… (He’s fallen asleep reading his Action Bible.)
At a summer youth camp, I looked up and saw him immersed in worship…
On top of the mountain, he said, “Mom, take this picture. I want to post it to [social media] and talk about pondering things of life and faith…”
I told them I’d like to get a picture of them with the mountains behind…
(Note: I didn’t ask them to “huddle up,” but they did.)
…Parents, be encouraged today. Sometimes, it’s the little things that we fail to notice, and sometimes, those are the very things that matter the most! 🙂