“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
When I look at Jesus I see a man of infinite patience. I see the Son of God who loves me to no end. I see the Father’s face and am moved to tears of gratitude, joy and hope. I am safe in love, mercy and peace.
When I look at myself in the mirror I do not see Jesus, but I know I am Jesus to my child. And I want my child to see the Jesus that I see: daily, hourly, moment by every precious moment.
Parenting is tough. How do I represent God to my son, so that he will grow up full of love, and into a follower of Christ?
Many children want two things: to please and to have their own way. Often, these two desires are not compatible. When we parent our children, we have the responsibility to guide them to truth and responsibility, and to enable them to enjoy the life they’ve been given. Whether in joy or sorrow, pain or pleasure, we mirror God and His universe to them. We want them to grow, knowing they are imperfect, they are loved and they are to love.
I’ve asked myself many times, ‘Am I getting this right?’ How, as a parent, do I lead my child to Christ, to be a confident person, humble before God?
Ready: First, I pray. Pray when the child is in the womb, that s/he will grow into the person God has created. Pray and let your child see you praying for her, for your family, friends, colleagues. Pray for your city, country, world. Pray that you will have strength to parent your child wisely, and with compassion, strength and integrity.
Set: Next, enjoy. Play, challenge, encourage. Build his sense of right and wrong, his knowledge of Father God, his delight in others and in you, his parent(s). Discipline when necessary, with both firmness and gentleness. Be consistent in your expectations, follow through with your promises, be tender when he fails and kind. Know that one day, in the fullness of time, you will want this person to be your friend.
Go: Be confident in your calling, even when you feel full of self-doubt. Jesus, by his Spirit, is within you and surrounding you with love. Love covers a multitude of weaknesses, both yours and your child’s. Know that just as Father God has led you this far, He will never let you down. Lean on Him, be strong for your child, and take courage. Your child will grow into the man or woman s/he was created to be.
My son and me: