There are several people in life that you don’t want to hear say “Oops!” Your barber, your mechanic, and your surgeon come to mind. Another is your parents. None of us want “Oops” to sum up the influence we’ve had on the lives of our children. But more often than not in our culture today, that is what I am hearing from parents both in and out of the church. It is crucial for us to become intentional about what we are giving the next generation in the short time they are in our care.
If you don’t know this, time sneaks up on you. At first it was sleepless nights and leaky diapers. Exhausting and disgusting, but a fair trade-off for getting close with such a little bundle of joy. Then they raise the bar with bumps and bruises, dinnertime spills, crayons on the walls, and the word “No” in response to, well, everything. Still cute, but the trade-off seems a little less fair. Before you know it, you pole vault over issues you never were part of the parenting package- that first cuss word, awkwardly trying to explain sex, or crying together after that first time they are picked on or excluded.
We get no practice round or dress rehearsal. With the birth of that first child the curtain raises and we are on stage immediately. There is no secret formula for becoming “super” parents- faster than a runny nose, more powerful than a temper tantrum, able to leap willful rebellion in a single bound. The only “S” on your chest should stand for Sinners raising Sinners and that equals conflict!
It is our job as parents and a church to give them a biblical framework for living- to equip them with a strong sense of identity that comes from knowing who made them, who they are, and how they fit into the larger drama of life. We must help them understand their story from the Author’s perspective, to enjoy the wonder that comes from knowing that with God everything is sacred and nothing is meaningless.
We must wage war in this battle for truth and teach the next generation about:
A personal, loving God who created them for relationship.
A sense of purpose and meaning that transcends the often confusing and painful experiences they will endure.
Timeless truth that frames the choices they will face and explains the seemingly hapless circumstances of life.
A profound hope only found in Jesus Christ that can overshadow the deepest despair.
Our clear purpose in parenting is to inspire and nurture the faith of the next generation as life’s greatest privilege and priority.
I pray that we are all up for the challenge!