Parenting Today, For Tomorrow
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:33-34).
So often we parent out of fear. We are afraid of the culture. We are afraid of predators. We are afraid of tough questions about sex. We are afraid of the possibility of all the foolish decisions our children could make along the way. Jesus tells us to shed such fear and focus on seeking the Kingdom. Each day will present enough challenges to us without also worrying about the future.
Many of tomorrow’s problems, by the way, can be taken care of in advance if we are making the right choices today. I do not need to fear when my children become teenagers if I focus on loving and nurturing them appropriately right now. Many parents of fallen, confused children can probably look back on their earlier years and recall the times that they put work ahead of family, focused too much on the pursuit of wealth, pushed their kids too far to succeed at activities, or alienated them when they failed.
All of us ask hard questions. But something happens when we become parents and hear those same questions come from our children. We are not doing them a favor by deflecting or short-changing them. Remember that hard questions are not a sign of impending spiritual disaster in your children – rather, it is a sign of a stimulated, thoughtful, deliberate mind that is seeking answers.
Be careful not to immediately answer questions with your conclusions, but guide them in their thinking so that the answers become their own. Their faith must be found and nurtured on its own merit. “The wrestling is important. As you dialogue with your child through his theological ramblings, realize you are training him to engage in the postmodern world outside your doorstep. You are giving him a gift – the gift of discourse and discovery” (Authentic Parenting In A Postmodern Culture, DeMuth, p. 93). This does not mean that you never give your own insight. After all, as mom or dad you are responsible for training your children (Proverbs 1:8, 22:6, Ephesians 6:4). Just do not jump too quickly on their thought process. Pray for wisdom to know when it is the right time to answer or let them space to process a problem independently.