Calendars, Competition and Christian Parenting

Christian Parents and the Quality Versus Quantity Time DebateThe other day, I was having lunch with a children’s minister in another state. As we discussed our hopes and concerns for the current generation of children, we began talking about the impact Christian parenting can have on a child. We shared stories of being congratulated for giving birth to “compliant” children (neither of us had), of having great “luck” in how our kids (now in their teens and in college) were acting and how many times we had heard the ever popular “Your kids are great now, but just wait until (the next stage).”

We talked about the challenges of encouraging parents to put parenting their children to God as their first priority. We discussed how vital it is for parents to put a lot of time and effort into Christian parenting. We even discussed the possible reasons, many Christian parents give only lip service to Christian parenting. As we thought about the stumbling blocks Christian parents encounter, two came to mind over and over:

  • Time. The number one excuse I hear about why parents aren’t doing their Christian parenting job thoroughly is the lack of time. Usually, this is followed by a long list of jobs, educational commitments and extra curricular activities. While none of those things are sinful in and of themselves, there is often a serious issue with time management. What most time management experts will tell you is that we waste more time than we realize and we have to make sure the most important things in our lives get the most time. Yet, we still claim we are too busy to teach our kids about God as we flip through Facebook on our devices. We will spend every night of the week and all weekend at sporting events and have only a few minutes to a couple of hours of the week carved out for teaching and showing our kids what God wants from them and for them in life. Want to reach your godly potential as a Christian parent? Control your calendar and don’t let it control you. Sounds impossible, but it isn’t. It’s just another one of Satan’s lies.
  • Priorities. If you ask most Christian parents outside of the church building their goals for their children and you will get a long list of educational goals, occupational goals, sports or hobby goals and even relational goals. An occasional parent may throw in a “Love God” for good measure, but the bulk of the list is secular. We get caught up as parents in some unspoken competition. Our kids have got to be as good as or preferably better than the children of anyone else we meet. They have to have the perfect secular life. I am going to give you a gift as a parent, that you may not want to accept at first. Your success as a parent is not measured by your children’s education, their career, their bank account or even their eventual spouse and children. You are successful as a Christian parent if your children are in Heaven for eternity. Yes, that’s it. It should be your number one priority and outweigh all others. Those other things are wonderful blessings, but if your child doesn’t go to Heaven, they were worthless. Once you understand your true priority and the accompanying focus, your Christian parenting journey will begin to fall into place.

The next time you hear or read something about Christian parenting, watch for the warning signals that you have fallen for one or more of Satan’s lies about parenting. You do have the time and it is your number one priority to give your kids the tools they need to be the Christians God wants them to be. So take back your calendar and reset your priorities. You may just be surprised at the results.

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NIV)