It’s something you’ll never be finished with. It’s a task that once commenced is never fully completed. Such a monumental role would not normally be approached by the sanest of individuals. However, there is no full disclosure given before the decision is made to proceed. If there was a precautionary booklet, which could be read before agreeing to the arduous task, we could not fully understand its contents. One must experience it for a couple of decades to understand the full scope of this challenging role.
What in the world am I failing at describing? PARENTHOOD.
I’ve come to the conclusion that my role as a parent will never be finished. I’ll never get to the end of it and be able to soak in the feeling of a job well done. There will never come a day when I will be able to say, “well, I’ve finally got through with that tough assignment,” – as though any parent would be brave enough to submit their most important work of life for a grade.
What grade do I think I would receive IF I asked my Heavenly Father to grade my paternal role? INCOMPLETE.
Paternally speaking, I’ve been at it for over twenty-five years. With two happily married children, a beautiful daughter-in-law, a diligent and hardworking son-in-law, and a thirteen-year-old son still in the parental quiver, I’m still paternally perplexed.
One of the reasons that I am sure of my INCOMPLETE grade is that there is no such thing as a fully developed human being with no more need for growth. Contrary to some, I believe that people never lose the potential to change, grow, and become better. As long as they want to, individuals can improve. Hence, the need of a praying parent is always in view.
As a Christian father, my lifelong parental role includes the spiritual leadership of making disciples. Such paternal discipleship changes. While still in the parental quiver, it looked much like you might imagine. Church attendance, prayer time, Bible studies, and an assortment of other activities, which seem to sometimes aggravate children were the normal routine. You see, building babies into babes in Christ, and then into disciples that must make spiritual decisions for themselves is not an easy task. There are some sleepless nights and sorrow-filled days. I’m reminded of Psalm 127. Some of you already knew I was going here.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
In addition to the many prayers that we cover our adult children with, the discipleship focus continues. Since the middle of last year, we have worked with our Family Scripture Focus. You might like this idea and want to give it a go with your children, both in and out of the quiver. Each Friday, I send out a list of two to three Scriptures by Facebook Messenger to them. They are encouraged to take the time to meditate upon these verses while reviewing their context. I also ask them to make an attempt at memorizing them. I ask for an attempt because my adult children (Will & Brittany) don’t like feeling like their father is still telling them what to do. Also, their spouses (Alex & Jeremy) are still learning their somewhat peculiar father-in-law. Eventually, they’ll all learn that I only mean them well in my attempts to edify them. Yes, I am that Christian father.
With the teenager still in the quiver, I do insist that he (Caleb) spend time with these Scriptures at the beginning of each morning and be able to quote them back to me by the following Friday morning. Yes, I am that Christian father.
Keep at it, my parental peers, your job is INCOMPLETE. Stay encouraged, though, the grace of God will help you as you seek Him, learn of Him, and stay in His Word.
How do you feel about your role as a parent? If we were using an old school system, would you give yourself an S or an I? Satisfactory or Incomplete? By what means do you still attempt to disciple your children?