Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Secret of Parenting

I wonder if we sometimes over-exalt our role as parents. Okay, maybe that's too much of a generalization. I often exalt my role as a parent. Sometimes I even exalt my role over the work that I know the Lord can do in their lives. It's the Lord that changes my children, yet I find myself analyzing everything I do as a parent. When my children succeed there is a part of me that wonders if I did something right. When they fail, there's a part of me that wonders what I did wrong. I think a friend let me in on the secret to great parenting a couple days ago.

We were talking about homeschooling vs. public schools vs. private schools. Is there really one right way for every family? Is homeschooling the only way for children to grow up loving the Lord? Is a private Christian school the best alternative to not homeschooling? Do our kids belong in a public school to be a light in a dark, desperate world? There's lots of thoughts on the subject. I have my own thoughts.

The conversation turned to parenting---the role of the family in a child's life. Families are such a cool God invention---when they work right. A group of people gathered together encouraging one another, guiding each other, pointing one another to the Lord, disciplining one another in the Lord, rubbing off rough edges in each other. A safe place. A family should be where you can go when you fall...and when you succeed. A place where you can go when you are hurting...and when you are laughing. Family is such a great idea.

So this friend and I were discussing our role as parents. My friend was talking about one of the greatest families she knew. This particular family had five children that had all attended public school. Public schools? Impossible. These children grew up loving the Lord, wanting to serve Him, and making wise choices in life. "What's the secret?" my friend had asked the mom. The simplicity of the answer gave me chills.

"I beg God everyday for my children."

Beg God. That might be the secret.

Our great training can point our children to the Lord, but it can't change their hearts.
Our rules and our expectations can help them live outwardly Godly lives, but their obedience to those rules doesn't equal salvation.
Our Godly example can encourage our children, but there's no guarantee that their hearts are always affected.
Our family can be a safe place for them to grow, but it doesn't always see into the secret places of their hearts to transform them into a new creation.

Only God changes hearts. Only God can save our children. The family is crucial. God uses the family. But He does the work. My children were created for His purpose. Not for me. My children were not put on this earth only for my pleasure. That brings me great relief. The reminder that it's not up to me. That He will bring about His Work in their life.

So, I'm begging God. Begging God for my children. Homeschooled. Private schooled. Public schooled. I'm begging God.

And I'm going to take a deep breath...and beg some more.

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