The Truth About Parenting
Willy Wonka once said, “We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that. Reverse it.” This sentence rings true for Christian parents because let’s just admit it, parenting is hard, time consuming, and a joyous work. God has graciously given us these little ones to raise in a limited amount of time (cf. Prov. 22:6; Eph. 6:4). Yes, raising children remains a temporary exercise because our goal as believing parents is to release them into the world as godly adults–by God’s grace.
As Christian parents, we have a plethora of areas to train in the lives of our children. We need to disciple them in a wholistic manner from their heads to their hearts. We teach them and show them the gospel repeatedly. We point them to Scripture. We pray for and with them. In addition, we involve them in a local church that reaffirms what we are doing at home. It can be a daunting task. In fact, sometimes, if we are truly honest with ourselves, we all have moments where we feel like we are just training and correcting these little image-bearers all the time.
One Question You Should Ask Your Children
Sometimes we are so caught up in their upbringing that we forget to check in on them both emotionally and spiritually. Therefore, I would like to encourage you to take moments throughout the week to sit and listen to your child. Here is one question to ask your little person so that you can check on their hearts in the midst of your discipleship training,
“Is there anything on your heart that you would like to share with your mommy or daddy?”
Three Implications from this Question
This question is loaded with theological implications for children. First, it provides them with confidence that they can come to their earthly fathers and mothers with anything they are dealing with in life. It provides them comfort and confidence to approach us for any reason to open the lines of communication. Is this not the same way God wants us to come to him with anything and everything on our heart? The author of Hebrews says it this way, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need” (Heb. 4:16). By asking this question, you are teaching them that they can go to their heavenly Father with anything just like they can come to you.
Second, it allows our children an opportunity to clear their consciences. Sometimes our children are carrying things that we don’t even know about, and this question allows them an opportunity to confess a sin or a thought or a struggle with you. You may be surprised at what your child might bring to you in this moment. So you need to be ready to shower the gospel of grace on them as they bring their hearts to you. This is a healthy practice as James 5:16 reads, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” If a child shares a particular sin or struggle with you, spend time praying and pointing them to the finished work of Jesus Christ before thinking of how to deal with it.
Third, this question provides an opportunity for theological and gospel conversations to naturally arise out of your child’s response. For example, one of our children shared that they were saddened and hurting as they began to process the consequences of living in a fallen and broken world. This is a prime example that opens the doors for gospel conversations and theological reflections. In this moment, we had an opportunity to reflect and meditate on the character and love of God. Certain answers your child shares will create ample occasions where you can share the hope we have in God’s redeeming work from God’s Word.
Yes, we have a lot of responsibilities as Christian parents who seek to raise our children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). Of course, we must be diligent and proactive in this God-given task, but we also need to create moments where our children can share with us what is going on inside of their hearts and minds. As you can see, this one question can be a gold mine of theological discussion and gospel conversations with our children. Try it for yourself this week when you are tucking your little ones into bed or sitting around the dinner table. Simply ask them, “Is there anything on your heart that you would like to share with your mommy or daddy?”
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