People often ask for a map but in reality we only get a compass. There are no easy shortcuts in parenting and all those tried and true ‘tips & tricks’ that worked for others, don’t always work for your kid.
If you’ve been around Bible teaching homes or churches, you have heard this famous parenting verse: Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
This verse is often shared in such a manner, that one assumes that there’s some guidebook somewhere that if you follow the directions exactly, you are guaranteed a certain desired result. That’s the problem with proverbs, they are like recipes for cooking but everyone knows that even when following recipes, there’s lots of variables that can affect the outcome of the dish! In our home, we are still trying to nail down the perfect no bake cookie and we’ve been doing that for a couple decades! It seems like one batch comes out perfect and the next has some aspect that falls short. It can be maddening when you follow all the steps and are just positive that that next batch is going to be perfect and…it comes out a disappointing glob of goodness but not an example of masterful chefery.
General principles, derived at from watching a subject over time can help us, but learning to navigate the stormy waters of parenting requires more than charts, we need a good compass. Charts and maps of other people’s journeys are critical to have, but in life, sometimes we just seem to have general directions instead of a Siri like voice telling us when and where to turn. That reality can be very frustrating when we hit difficult times, when all our ideas or previous practices fail to deliver the results we hoped for in our homes.
No child comes to us with a owner’s manual, and even the honest Bible reader knows that it’s pages contain some very confusing collections of parenting stories that no postmodern parent would find very helpful or encouraging. That is not to say the Bible doesn’t contain the wisdom from God for parents, but let’s not sell it as a fail proof text to turn to for every question from potty training to social media boundary setting. I believe the Bible’s principles, doctrines and central message about salvation through Christ are foundational to fruitful parenting but too many people oversell and underserve when it comes to parenting advice. We need to be careful of quick fix, magic-minded, short-term props to parenting that leave no room for the long game, the tough valleys, the disappointing seasons or the endings that can break a parents heart. Parenting can be brutal and beautiful, and being equipped to move through all those seasons is crucial to maintaining a positive attitude, faithful presence and fruitful outcome in your home.
I am not a pessimist in parenting but I am a realist, and I have watched many parenting stories play out over the almost 3 decades of pastoral life and not all turn out as we would hope. Christian parents struggle and suffer too. Together we can equip ourselves to handle the challenges and opportunities of parenting without perpetuating fantasies instead of reality. Faith isn’t a recipe for success, but it is a foundation for fruitfulness no matter what you might face in your parenting journey.
My goal in hosting our first Parenting Matters Weekend is to distill a lot of parenting advice and biblical wisdom down to 8 principles for navigating parenthood. These eight compass points are broken down to four primary and four secondary points to help you figure out your way forward with joy, hope, confidence and faith. These are meaningful principles that can give you the assurance that you are doing the best you can, without setting you up for devastating disillusionment when life doesn’t always go as you planned.
There are no perfect parents or perfect kids, just sincere people trying to do their best to not screw up their children! I can promise you that what you will learn at our Parent Matters Weekend will help and not hurt your kids and in this day, that’s the best guarantee you can get!
Sign up here: https://www.facebook.com/events/342896159493724/