Being a person in today’s world is hard. Being a parent today is even harder. Being a Christian parent in today’s world is next to impossible. The facade of Christian parenting is easy to pull off; cleverly placed scriptures on your social media sites, polished children who sit quietly in the church pews and smile on Sunday mornings, blessings before dinner and bedtime all make you feel like your doing alright. But the uncomfortable truth is that if that’s all you’re doing, then it’s not alright. No, parenting children to be warriors for Christ requires so much more. It requires that we actually train up our children in the way they should go and that is an enormous task. When a soldier trains for battle, they do it day in and day out. When a soldier rises in the morning, they condition. When a soldier puts food into his/her body, they are mindful of what they consume. When a soldier trains for battle, they practice what they will do should the enemy attack. You see, training our kids to be Christians in today’s society requires that we show them how it looks with our every word, thought, action and reaction. Isolated, our family does okay with training. When thrown into school with their peers however, we are like salmon swimming upstream. I get so frustrated because I feel like we are among the last of our species, fighting against extinction. We are parents who have rules that go against the grain. We take our kid’s phone and check his messages constantly, we won’t let him have it at all hours of the night, his search bar is linked directly with mine so I can see what he searches on his phone, we question him and poke and prod until he gives us information, we check up on his friends and say no when we are uncomfortable with a situation or set of people. Are our kids perfect? Lord heavens, no. I know they aren’t. I know who their parents are and quite frankly, that scares me because I know what they were capable of. It’s exactly this reason that we constantly fight against the grain. I realize my children’s natural inclination is toward evil and not good. I know that if we want to raise children who love the Lord with all their hearts, it actually requires catching them in awkward situations at school and with peers, it requires finding out that they looked up something inappropriate on their phone. If we never intercept their bad actions or catch them just after they have been done, we are losing out on the ability to show them the overwhelming grace of God. We lose out of the instructional moments that show them how, even at our worst, God can turn a situation around. If we never acknowledge the sin in our own children, we can never show them the freedom that can be found in Christ.
I’m not trying to discredit anyone’s parenting style. Parenting really is hard and unless you beat your kids, I promise to never judge. I have given in to my kids many times even though I knew that I was spoiling them. I have bailed them out of stuff even though I knew I was doing them a disservice by bailing them out. I get it. Maybe you didn’t have much growing up and love to spoil your kids, maybe you are divorced and carry guilt about it so you give in more than you should. Maybe you fear that your kid will get bullied and made fun of if they don’t have the newest, greatest things like everyone else. But guys. Listen. We are killing each other and ruining our kids in this crazy giving-in-to-their-every-request mindset. We are taking an already exhausting job and making it so much harder by taking the path of least resistance. I see it in things my own kids say about their friends at school AND I see and hear it in the things my students at school say and do. I actually had someone argue with me the other day about constantly checking our oldest child’s phone. They said I was a “helicopter mom and needed to trust my kid.” You know what I say to that? Ha. Ha.ha.ha. Why on Earth would I trust my 13 year old kid with a cell phone with unlimited access to the world and all it’s information? Just Thursday on my way to work I saw a grown woman texting on her cell phone, slowing down the fast lane and a guy who almost killed everyone on the interstate swerving back and forth while he WATCHED A MOVIE ON HIS PHONE. And this was just on my twenty minute drive to work, with grown ups who know better. Why would I think my kid wouldn’t use it to do foolish stuff as well? I know I have been guilty of sending an ugly text or email in the heat of my anger and I bet you have done some foolish things with your phone, too. And don’t get me started on the unlimited access to inappropriate videos and pictures that my 13 year old, hormonal child can get his hands on. Some of ya’ll have forgotten what it’s like to be a teenager and it really shows.
We are better than this, guys. We are smarter than this, too. Our most important job on this Earth is not something we will do at work. It is raising our children to be the next generation of warriors for the Lord. And warriors are in constant battle with the enemy. Warriors don’t need to be spoiled, they need to be TRAINED. Let’s agree to choose the road less traveled more often than not. Let’s agree that our kids are worth it and let’s agree that if we see each other’s kids doing something that would put them in Hell, that we will tell the other without fear of offense. I believe in the next generation of warriors and I believe in US.