Parenting is one of the greatest adventures of life! Kim and I have enjoyed more than three decades of being parents together, and now that our youngest is 26, we’re also moving into the season of grandparenting! It’s a fun time, and I’m surprised by how much conversation goes into what your new grandchild will CALL you. Here’s a newborn baby, and we’re all talking about what name we’re going to train her to call us. Like I said, “fun times!” Who knows what she’ll actually say!
If you’re a parent, you know the big truth that we’re pointed to in the Scripture. Here is it: “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. What a great principle! This proverb in not a promise, but a great principle to live by in your task of parenting. Every good thing we do in the way of investing in our children will bear some kind of fruit in the years ahead - work ethic, responsibility, spiritual insight, or some other fruit.
When I was a young parent, in my zeal, I took this as a promise from God. I wanted it to be a guarantee, and we sure wanted to do our part. As Kim and I continued our journey of parenting, we were dedicated to be faithful parents who trained our children well. As we went along, however, we were reminded of another Scriptural principle - that each person (or child) has a free will and an individual responsibility to God.
When our children made adult decisions that were contrary to their training, we often asked “where did we go wrong?” It may have been the wrong question. No parent is perfect. Also, no parent can guarantee the result of their training. Instead, we learned to ask another question altogether.
Instead of second-guessing our parenting, we began to ask, “How will God personally work in my child’s life?” I’m convinced that’s the best question to ask and the best prayer to pray. Candidly, the way I pray for my adult kids these days is every bit as intense and focused as when they were little children.
Ultimately, the way God worked in OUR lives to reveal Himself and become very real to us is the same type of way He will work in THEIR lives. We must trust Him to do what we can never do.
Ultimately our confidence can never be in our performance as parents but in His capability as God of the universe.
Thoughts from John Meador and insights from God's Word.