Jenny and Eric Powell attended the Christ-Centered Parenting classes offered in April. Below are some of their thoughts as they reflected on what they heard and discussed while attending the classes.
Parenting today is hard, especially when your kids have special powers. They always know when you just started a phone conversation, and then they need a snack. They always know when you just sat down for the first time in four hours, and then they need you to settle a dispute with their sibling. They always know when you have just had enough of the chaos, and then they decide to run screaming though the house with muddy feet. As your kids get older, the things they do to test your patience and boundaries change. They know which buttons to push and when.
How do we react to these moments which combine weariness, frustration, short fuses and a desire to just make the immediate problem go away? The tempting response is to reach for the most convenient punishment or newly created rule to try and restore peace in the moment. This is a bit like using a bandage to repair a leak in a dam – the results will be temporary and the long-term damage will be extensive. Thankfully, our loving and merciful Father has provided the perfect example of parenting for us though his interactions with his people throughout the Bible.
The law was given by God not to save, but to point to our need for a Savior. God used the law to provide instruction, but his people could never measure up to his standard of holiness. In the same way, we set guidelines and rules for our children. However, our focus should not be on their outward behavior, but on the inward condition of their hearts. Jesus didn’t just tell the tax collectors to stop behaving poorly. He understood that their sin was a symptom of a larger problem – a sinful heart. As parents, our job is to recognize those tendencies in our children’s hearts and address the root problem, while acknowledging that we too have these same tendencies and struggles.
The challenges we face today as parents are becoming more diverse and complex, especially as technology continues to become a bigger part of our daily lives. From simple disobedience to issues of identity, sexuality and technology, we are constantly trying to love, protect, and guide our children into becoming healthy adults who know and love God. As we parent, we must be mindful of our responsibilities as role models who show love and affection for our kids and use our interactions with them to point them towards Jesus. Just as we must keep Christ in the center of our personal life, we need to also keep Christ in the center of our parenting.