Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Christian Parenting Fundamentals

When you think of good parenting, what comes to mind? I think for many of us, good parenting usually revolves around what we DO: everything from, "Should spanking be used as a form of discipline?" to, "Should I allow my children to drink beverages with high fructose corn syrup?" There are countless dos and don'ts in parenting. Quite often, two different sources of parenting information will give two contradictory pieces of advice on what you DO to handle a given situation.

But what I've learned is that parenting isn't about what we DO or DON'T DO. It is about who we ARE as parents, what behaviors we model, what personal patience we can muster, how much love we can demonstrate toward others. We need to shift our focus from parenting dos and don'ts to who we are, spiritually, as parents. When we make that shift, the dos and don'ts start to fall into place. And even if they don't, they don't seem to matter as much.

In Christian life, in general, I notice a great many people ask the question, "Is this certain behavior a sin?" I think we're afraid of this legalistic idea that the rules we follow might not actually be sinful because of the freedom we have in Christ. But this line of thinking opens the door to figuring out what we can get away with, rather than seeking the heart of God.

Because of this, I'm always drawn to 1 Corinthians 10:23:

"Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive.

God wants what is best for us...and while certain behaviors might not technically be labeled a sin, it also doesn't mean it is what is best for us...and by extension, what is best for our children.

Rather than ask ourselves, "Is this wrong?" the question really should be, "How does this help me love God and/or others better?"

This is a driving force behind my desires not only for my own life, but for the parenting decisions I make. This is also the fundamental force behind the Christian parenting advice and teaching I will present here. It isn't to suggest it is the only way, or that other ways of parenting or wrong...but only that I want to ultimately do what is BEST for my kids, not simply ENOUGH. And that starts with me. Sometimes that takes slow and painful change within myself. Truth is, I'm a sinful human being still being perfected. (Shocking revelation, I know!)


Scott K. Johnson said...

I love this post Ryan. :-)

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Medical Billing Software said...

Though I think anything within good limits is ok...still there should be a stop from excessive intake of any packed drinks.Instead children should be encouraged to have home made juices with less or no sugar content.

RyanBruner said...

Thanks, Scott!


Thing is, ultimately, it doesn't matter. If our focus on what makes us good parents are things such as drinks, it can distract us from the more important issues. That is, the spiritual formation of our children.

These bodies are temporary. The spirit, however, is eternal. Nourish the body, sure. But more importantly, nourish the spirit! We can only do that if we live in submission to God's plan, even in our role in parenting.

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