I have kids... now what???
Trust me. I'm not an expert. In fact, when it comes to being a parent, I'm not really sure I know what I'm doing most of the time. I'm not writing this series because I am a good parent. Nor am I writing these blogs because I have an exemplary family that all of you should follow; if you know my family at all you will know this to be true. Nor am I writing this series in order to offer parents a list of do's and don'ts or a formula which will ensure that your kids turn our right. If this was possible, things would be different in our home.
I'm writing this series because our church is full of parents with kids of all ages. I'm writing this series because it has always been and will always be really tough to raise children. I'm writing this series because the family is the core of society and church life; if we get family right, everything else will fall into place. I'm writing this series to encourage and challenge parents not with a formula for parental success (there is none) or with my expertise, but with what should be bedrock of our Christian walk - Scripture, the gospel and discipleship. Scripture provides our framework for understanding our kids and our role as parents. The gospel needs to be the center of our parenting. Discipleship needs to be the framework of our parenting. These are the themes that will come up as we discuss parenting and family life. How you work out the specifics of these themes is very much up to you.
I understand that not all people in our church have kids that require constant attention; they are older or out of the house. But, parenting never ends. I still need my parents. My kids at 17 and 19 still need my wife and I (though they might not admit it), so we are all in need of paying attention to what God requires of parents. More importantly, we all know people who have young children or teenagers. These people need the encouragement and exhortation of those of us who have been through it. They need us to offer our wisdom and our experience including both our successes and our failures. Most importantly they need us to remind them of what God says in his word and to uplift them when parenting is tough, and to walk with them when they admit they don't know what they are doing. It takes a church to raise children because God has made us our brothers keeper. Discipleship is a part of the family and the church. We all need to take responsibility for the kids that God has entrusted to our care.
Let me begin this series by recommending a few resources for you. All of them are worth picking up and reading closely.
Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
Gospel-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shares and Transforms Parenting by William P. Farley
Disciplines of a Godly Family by Kent and Barbara Hughes
Everyday Talk: Talking Freely and Naturally with Your Child About God by John A. Younts
Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens by Paul David Tripp
Soli Deo Gloria