Friday, September 10, 2010
Lastly, to stay motivated, trust God. Maybe this should have been first, but it is probably right where I often put it. We as parents sometimes have such a difficult time trusting God, especially when things do not turn out as we anticipated.
Ray and I were recently talking about two couples who had huge impacts on our parenting and family life. We have found out lately that both couples have “given up”—in their own ways—on this idea of Christian parenting. Oh, they haven’t necessarily turned from the faith; they just gave up on many of the things they taught us about passing this faith on to our children.
The first one basically saw that this parenting thing wasn’t working, got disillusioned with things, and started taking the easy way out on everything. It was easier to join the kids than it was to train them.
The second one became angry at God when their kids were not turning out like they thought they would. They are angry, bitter, and cynical. We’ve been told that they are not the same people at all anymore—that we would hardly recognize them.
What made these two couples decide that this wasn’t worth it if it didn’t turn out the way they always dreamed it would? The same thing that makes us give in to a child and just give him his own way rather than sticking to our guns on a discipline issue. The same thing that forces us to extend the curfew a little longer when the sixteen year old gives us a hard time—it’s not like it’s going to make any difference. They aren’t catching anything we’re trying to give them here anyway, we think.
Sure, those couples made big, long-term decisions to skip the teaching in one case and be bitter in the other. But we make those same types of decisions all the time when the going gets rough. Little ones, yes, but similar anyway.
I pondered these two families whom I had nearly idolized for a long time and came to the conclusion that I, too, often find myself heading down the same path when I parent in an outcome-based way only. In other words, if I dig in and do what I know I should do only if things are going the way I planned for them to, I, too, could become lackadaisical and/or bitter.
I can’t parent out of fear—or out of demands that God do what I want when I want it. I have to parent in faith. I have to trust God regardless of how things look. I lose my motivation quickly when I base my efforts on how things are going on a daily basis. I am working hard at this Christian parenting not because if I do everything will go how I want it to, but because it is what I am called to do—and I will trust God for the outcome—and the motivation to stick with it.