The Weight of Parenting
Our son was born at 11:43 pm. According to the insurance company, his first day of coverage at the hospital was only 17 minutes long. This meant that all the tests and paperwork needed for a brand new life was packed into a day and a half. It was a rush getting out of the hospital and into the car and the moment I sat down in the driver seat with our newborn son in the back, it hit me. Someone has made a horrible mistake! Should they really be entrusting this tiny baby’s life to me? Is this a good idea? Does God know what he is doing? My questions were a reflection of the magnitude of parenting. We have been given a high and holy task. Paul Tripp says that to believe you have all the answers in parenting would be similar to standing before a 747 and believing you could lift it with your own might.
So what is this monumental task? None other than being “a principal, consistent, and faithful tool in [God’s] hands for the purpose of creating God-consciousness and God-submission in your children”. A weighty task indeed! Any decent parent wants their child to be successful in life. We want them to excel academically, socially, artistically, athletically, etc. We see this in the hours spent with tutors, extracurricular activities, and organized sports. However, the most important thing we can do as parents is help our children learn about the existence, character, and redemptive plan of God. We cannot save our children in our own power. But, we can introduce them well to the one who can save them.
This introduction begins with our own relationship with God. Do we live according to God’s values? Or, do we treasure material possessions, popularity, security, etc., above our calling as parents to introduce our children to the Lord. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 calls us to make God first and foremost in our households and then calls us to look for opportunities all throughout our day to draw our children’s minds to God.
God is evident in all of his creation. We have the important task of helping our children to see beyond the creation to the Creator. When we walk in a park of beautiful flowers we can talk about a God who loves beauty. When we help our children with their math homework we can tell about a God of order. When we discipline our children we do it with an understanding of God’s authority structures, commands, and graciousness to us as sinners. This last element is paramount. We must help our children see how God has been loving and gracious to us. This means telling them stories of God’s work in our lives and responding to them in humility and compassion when they sin and when we sin.
Can we fulfill this calling perfectly? Certainly not. But, God has given our children to us and us to our children that we may be the tool by which faith and faithfulness is passed to the next generation. Will you take up this calling afresh today?
Based on the book “Parenting:14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family” by Paul David Tripp.