NOTE: This post is for every living, breathing person in the Christian community. You may not be a parent, but you definitely have a responsibility to help "parent."
There's no pay for this job, but the payoff when it is done right is oh-so-satisfying. Parenting is the privilege of managing an early inheritance from God.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Psalm 127:3-5 ESV
Seeing children as a gift from God, we might think that the responsibility for helping them grow falls solely on the shoulders of their parents. That would be a big, big mistake. James K.A. Smith teaches philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In an article, Letter to a Young Parent he writes:
One of the terrible lies of our culture--and even the rhetoric of "family values"--is the crippling myth that our homes are self-sufficient incubators for child rearing. If you buy into that myth, you'll be isolated by a constant sense of failure.
Contrary to the popular phrase, "It takes a village," the biblical teaching is that it takes more than that. It takes the church! The role for "training in godliness," falls first on the parents, but ultimately on the entire people of God. We must remember that the family admonitions in Ephesians 5:22-6:4 and Colossians 3:18-21 are written for the entire church--not as "self-help" for the families of the church.
Today, I have included links to five short, but highly valuable articles on aspects of raising children. I hope you will find one that catches your attention and then read it with your entire church family in mind. Just click on the title for the article.
- Let Them Come Home by Abraham Piper Abraham Piper is the blogger behind 22 Words, a father of 4 little kids in Minneapolis, and son of pastor John Piper. This article provides 12 suggestions for reaching out to wayward children. As a former prodigal, he knows what he's talking about.
- Letter to a Young Parent by James K.A. Smith James teaches philosophy at Calvin College. He is a father of four. This article, written to new parents, beautiful articulates the joys, heartaches, and hope awaiting new parents.
- Christian Parenting by Elyse Fitzpatrick Elyse provides great help for those times when our kids "act up." The question she will help you wrestle with is this: “How does the gospel inform the way I correct my children?” Her answer will leave you encouraged!
- As for Me and My House: Taking Gospel Parenting Seriously by Russell MooreRussell Moore is a dad and the dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary in Louisville (where I completed my Ph.D.). Dr. Moore helps us to see that raising kids is much more than just teaching good behavior. Your house points to the Gospel. This article will download as a pdf. It begins on page 32.
- Where Are The Dads? Treating Richmond's Fatherless Epidemic by Katelyn Beaty Katelyn wrote this article for Christianity Today. It describes how local Christians are making a huge difference in public health--one man at a time.
- Raising Kids With Character by Susan Yates This mother of five and grandmother of nineteen has some good things to say about beauty and character.
Yes, children are a heritage from the Lord. God wants to use you to help care for and grow his special treasures.