am waist deep in parenting my three boys.
Like many of you, I realize parenting is the hardest job in the world.
Parenting is a funny thing. Unlike many of life’s other decisions, parenting is often entered into without a whole lot of forethought.
When we think about what career we want, we give it a lot of consideration. We think about how a particular career will fit with our gifts and talents; we think through what kind of income we will need, and we think about what type of school or training we will have to go through.
When we get married, we often plan for months and go to marriage counseling and try to prepare ourselves for the difficult transition.
There may not be a single event in your life that affects you more than having kids. For most of us, it requires a total change in our level of self-sacrifice.
It puts demands on our patience, sleep, marriage and finances. When you become a mom or dad for the first time, someone completely and totally becomes dependent on you and will be greatly affected by your choices.
That’s pretty serious.
You’d think you’d need a license for that, or at least a permit. Shouldn’t you have to take six weeks of pre-parenting classes like some of you did with marriage, or maybe several classes at the community college?
For many of us, parenting was more a result of a relationship than something we consciously thought through; or perhaps we knew we wanted children, but really had no idea of the demands parenting would have on our lives.
Here we are, regardless of how or why we got here.
God has given us the charge of raising his little ones, and we need to carry out that charge faithfully.
We need to take careful inventory of our lives. Where are we? Where do we want to be? How do we get there?
Parenting requires thoughtful and strategic planning.
With God’s help, we need to rise to the challenge and take seriously the charge with which we’ve been entrusted.
Let’s look at some scripture.
According to 1 Timothy 3:4-5, of the New International Version, “(An elder) must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?).”
First Timothy 3:12 says, “A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well.”
Titus 1:6 says, “An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.”
Both 1 Timothy chapter 3 and Titus chapter 1 lay out the requirements for church leaders, and one of the requirements is that they have good kids — kids who are believers, who are not wild and disobedient, who are manageable, and who respect their fathers.
Now, if a father has a fair amount of control of these things in his kids’ lives, then this requirement is fair.
However, if fathers really have little or no control over how their kids turn out, then this requirement for church leadership is just as random.
Which one is it — fair or random? Do we have control over the outcome or not?
My belief is, God would not require that leaders have good kids if having good kids was merely a product of luck. Having good kids is a result of following God’s principles in your own life, and in your parenting practices.
It’s more than prayer; it’s action. Clearly, God believes that parents are equipped for, responsible for and capable of producing good kids — kids who are believers, who are not wild and disobedient, who are manageable, and who respect their parents.
Parents, you must be convinced of this. You must take ownership for how your children turn out, and you must have faith that with God, all things are possible.
Everyone else may think that your job as a parent is just to educate, provide for and protect your kids until they are on their own.
Everyone else may think that you just have to cross your fingers and hope they turn out okay, but you are not everyone else. You must lock into the responsibility that God has given you. He clearly thinks you can change the outcome of your kids’ lives through your actions and his word.
Paige Metzgar is a licensed, certified counselor and works at Grace in Motion Counseling in Fairbanks. Insight is sponsored by the Tanana Valley Christian Conference.