The Goals of Parenting

Will Walker, pastor at Providence Church, provides the following article entitled “Gospel Centered Parenting.” Practical Idea: share this free resource with your team and send to parents to help them disciple their children.

Parenting is filled with complexities, mysteries, and endless situations that call for practical advice. As parents, we often get so bogged down in questions of what to do that we lose sight of why we’re doing what we do and how we should do it. My aim here is to take a big picture view of parenting. I will not answer all the questions, but I want to offer a way of thinking about parenting that will help with specific difficulties.

The big picture of parenting is the big picture of the Bible because parenting is a depiction of the gospel. Consider the language Scripture uses to describe our relationship to God: Conversion is called being “born again” (John 3:3); our salvation is called an “inheritance” (1 Peter 1:3-4); God disciplines those He loves (Proverbs 3:11-12); we are called “children of God” (John 1:12, 3:1). Our father/child relationship to God is so significant that Sinclair Ferguson says, “This is the fundamental way for the Christian to think about himself: ‘I am a child of God and his people are my brothers and sisters.’” Parenting is a picture of the gospel: to us, to our kids, and to the world around us.

On one hand, this sounds like good news because it roots the everyday, non-stop work of parenting in something big and meaningful. On the other hand, this could be discouraging because we all know that we are imperfect reflections of the gospel. This is an appropriate tension because the gospel is both bad and good news. We are simultaneously doing really well and really poor in our parenting, depending on the day and subject matter. That is our inescapable reality, and nothing speaks to that reality more effectively than the gospel.

The Goal of Parenting

Much of our parenting struggles are about not having the right goal. Every parent wants to raise a good kid, but what is a “good kid”? What shapes our understanding of the stuff that makes a child good … what other people think of them, how well they do in school, how much they obey, how athletic or smart they are? These are all normal desires that parents have for their kids, but to the extent that any of these govern our parenting, they become idols. We bow down to goals of image, performance, control, and the like. We must subject our goals in parenting to God’s goal for parenting. There are probably a number of ways to describe what God desires for our children. I will take my cue from the book of Proverbs: The goal of parenting is to glorify God by … click HERE to continue article and to receive this article as a free download.

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One Response

  1. Tillie Turlington June 21, 2012

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