Have you ever been exposed to one of those moms? When we started homeschooling our daughter years ago, I ran into quite a few of them. You know, the mom who can homeschool eleven children in different grades. Of course, most of them have college degrees by the age of sixteen. She also makes all of their clothes, helps on the family organic farm and grinds her own grain to make flour for her homemade bread. I mean really…makes her own flour!
Or maybe you have seen the Christian variety of the perfect mom. Her kids can quote long passages of scripture from memory, always make great choices, have done service projects that received national awards and hold hands as they skip perfectly scrubbed into the church building. You on the other hand, may just feel a miracle has happened if you pull up only thirty minutes late for church services and your kids didn’t try to kill each other on the way into the building.
Seemingly perfect moms can make the rest of us mere mortals want to throw up our hands in the air and stop trying. No matter how hard we try, it seems our efforts will never pay off in the obvious ways those perfect moms get from their kids. Why not just go into survival mode and just hope some God rubs off on them somewhere?
I want to encourage you not to buy into Satan’s lies about your parenting. That perfect mom isn’t so perfect – trust me. Those perfect kids aren’t so perfect either. Your efforts do matter very much in your child’s spiritual future. You don’t have to “do” Christian parenting perfectly to raise kids who become active, productive Christians as adults.
The truth is Christian parenting really boils down to the few basics God tells parents about in the Bible. In fact, most of the things you need to be doing to be a successful Christian parent who has a high impact on their children spiritually, God spells out very clearly. Before we go into those basics though, you need to spend some time preparing yourself. It is so very easy to believe what the world tells us and what Satan whispers in our ear at night (metaphorically speaking of course).
To be prepared to be a high impact Christian parent you need to accept the following truths:
- Your parenting choices must always be based on what God would want you to do. No matter how pretty the world’s package of secular parenting advice and how many degrees the author may have, God is smarter and wiser than anyone and everyone. Following God’s parenting advice is always the wisest choice.
- You will often do things that will cause other parents to think you are making ridiculous choices. Following God’s parenting advice means you will often have priorities and motivations that are very different from just about everyone – often even other Christian parents. The peer pressure will be intense at times and you need to be confident in your choices.
- Your kids will remind you your parenting is very different from that of other parents. If you have ultra dramatic kids or are changing parenting tactics mid-stream, you may even hear phrases like “You are ruining my life” or “But everyone else..”. It is important to remember your ultimate goal. Having your kids with you in Heaven for eternity is so much more important than whether or not their peers think they are “cool” in sixth grade.
- At times you will question yourself if high impact Christian parenting is really necessary or even worth the trouble. While I don’t think Christian parenting has to be as difficult as some people want to think it is, it isn’t always easy or fun to constantly feel like you are swimming upstream. You may even feel more than one moment of sympathy with Elijah, who was pretty convinced he was the only one left who followed God (I Kings 19:10). Just remember all of those doubts are actually lies from Satan, not reality. Even if it were true, your best course of action is always the one God has laid out for you.
Although you have to be pretty tough to be a high impact Christian parent, the actual things you need to focus on with your kids really aren’t that hard. Sure there are all sorts of extra things you can do to “pretty up” your Christian parenting of your kids. Those things are nice extras. Think of them as the homemade bread of Christian parenting. And those Christian parents who insist you do a lot of really elaborate things to parent your children towards God? It’s great if you want to join them, but they are probably grinding their own flour, too. If you have the extra time, money and energy for it – have fun. If not, don’t worry. In my next post, I will share the few things I have seen that appear to have the highest positive impact on children being raised in Christian homes.