Parenting is the most humbling task.
Whether you had a horrible raising or were reared in the luxury of godliness, the work of parenting will humble you like nothing else in life. All of your theories about well-behaved children will be challenged.
It’s also humbling to write about this topic. Anytime you write about a subject, readers presume you to be an authority on it. That brings me to this disclaimer. Just because I am an experienced parent doesn’t mean I suppose myself to be an expert.
Lisa and I have three children. Two of these adults have matured into marriage as healthy spouses. The third and final edition is still under our roof as a working college freshman. We are blessed.
But I don’t address this topic from the epitome of parenthood. I’m a fellow traveler who’s still in awe that God has entrusted the lives of other humans to our care. I mean, what was God thinking?!
As challenging and humbling as parenting is, there are also so many positives. It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. So with that sense of positivity, let me share some insights.
You’re not raising a child (or children). You’re rearing a future adult.
Think of every child as an adult in training. Now that doesn’t mean you should stay seriously stressed all the time. Accept that your child is a child, and let them enjoy childhood. But with big-picture, long-range thinking, keep this in mind. Your goal is to produce an adult who will be emotionally mature and give glory to God.
So how can we do that? Here are 3 humble tips for raising amazingly mature adults.Tweet
Love your child unconditionally. It’s easy to love a newborn. But children need to be constantly reaffirmed of your agape love for them. Unconditional love means with no strings attached. The sometimes tricky part as they grow older is to discern their primary love language. As a student of their growing souls, you soon learn how they speak and receive the love that fills their tank. But whatever you do, find a way for them to understand that your love for them is not based on their looks, behavior, or performance.
When they’re toddlers, everything your child does is cute and maybe even funny. But consider yourself warned. Dismissing your child’s poor behavior is a mistake. As soon as they are cognizant of their behavior, children can be trained. So, train your child in right living. It’s not always the correcting of poor behavior. Just like we teach a child to hold utensils and feed themselves, we can train them in right living before they go public with the wrong behavior.
The best resource for training your child in right living is you. That’s right. No amount of instruction will undo the example you set before them. Your righteousness is a clear pattern for them to copy. And when that model is reinforced with your loving guidance, your training for their right living is powerful.
Consequences are a part of life, and everyone has to deal with them. Therefore, you should let your children get used to this life lesson while they’re still under your tutelage. Hold your child accountable for their actions. As the adult in charge of their life, you teach them right and wise behavior, set boundaries for their protection, and ensure they understand the expectations. Then, you let them suffer the consequences of misbehaving, trespassing their boundaries, or acting indifferent to the stated expectation.
If you’re like me, you’d prefer to shelter your child from the negative consequences of their actions. But that’s not wise parenting. Life is hard, and children need to learn the value of sowing and reaping while they’re in your home filled with unconditional love. Besides, all things happen for a reason, and sometimes we don’t know that reason. But, sometimes, we’re just slow to make good decisions. After all, we’re sinful humans in need of God’s grace.
These three tips seem so simple on paper. Love them unconditionally. Train them to live right. And hold them accountable. I’ll wrap this up with the most brutal parenting truth.
You and I know the goal is to raise a mature adult. You can fulfill your role and do your part, and know that God is pleased. BUT, you can do it almost perfectly, and the adult that leaves your home could decide to go against your godly parenting. They are, after all, free will, moral agents. Just like you’ve done before, utilizing the power of choice, they could ignore the wisdom of godly principles. Maybe, they will look back one day with gratitude for their godly rearing.
Rest your prayers in this. God loves your child more than you do. And as long as there is breath in their lungs, hope is here. Continue to model His love and righteousness before them. Don’t rescue your adult child from all the consequences of their decisions (that’s called enabling). But prayerfully maintain your relationship with God and your adult children as best you can. Keep going in faith. Your model of endurance is a powerful witness.