I don’t know what you think about it, but for me, Parenting is HARD! I can’t tell you the number of days that I have gone to bed thinking, “Man, you really blew it today!” So many factors (excuses) go into this: a lack of sleep, a lack of patience, a lack of listening and obedience on the end of the child, their selfishness and stubbornness, my selfishness and stubbornness…my own sinfulness.
I have had some of my worst days trying to be a good husband and dad. and I have had my absolute best days as a husband and as a dad! Though I have failed miserably at times at being a good husband and father, I am convinced I know the secret to success in parenting…”Keep the end in mind!”
All of us struggle with balance in our lives. How do I balance my time at work? With my wife? With my kids? With each kid individually? With our entire family? With friends? In reaching out to a lost world with the hope of the Gospel? In discipling others and helping them grow in Christlikeness? There are days I feel like a pinball, getting bounced from one thing to the next, and sometimes, it is hard to re-focus myself after one crazy situation to the next. Ever been there?
It is easy to take on water when those storms come together and hit at the same time. We can feel like we are sinking and losing our grip on the whole thing. But life isn’t done when the storms come. The Lord has plans to carry us through the craziness and busyness of life. The one thing I know is that he is always there and with me (Matthew 28:20)! I can be sure of that!
Now, back to parenting, with knowing that Jesus is always with me, keeping the end in mind is what will allow us to navigate the storms of life. So what is the end goal of parenting? The Lord told Adam and Eve to “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28). Jesus said it this way, “Make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:18-20). The end game of parenting is to make followers of Jesus who are able to grow up, be productive managers of God’s resources and members of society, and who are able to raise up other disciple makers.
My end goal is not to make sure that my kids are safe and comfortable and at home their entire lives. The Lord wants them out there engaging the world and making a kingdom difference (“Fill the earth”). My job is to prepare them for that and to prepare them to make and raise up other kingdom difference makers. With that in mind, then and only then, can I have a navigational tool that will guide me and my wife in raising our kids and helping shape their future decisions and life choices. All to the glory of God…I must prepare them to send them out!