What’s the secret to great parenting?
It may surprise you.
We recently went to some parenting seminars by Julian and Debbie Hardyman.
We sat in our seats waiting in anticipation for what they were going to say… What approach would they take? What new kernels of wisdom could we glean from these seasoned parents?
Their intro took us by surprise!
They said something which was pretty liberating, surprising and well…obvious!
They said that there’s no silver bullet for parenting, no secret formula which needs to be found for success, they said that they weren’t going to say anything new.
This is what they said.
Are you ready for it?
Parenting is really pretty simple but very hard to actually do!
Simple but hard.
The Bible says provide for your kids, love them, discipline them and tell them about Jesus.
It’s not rocket science.
It’s not a secret at all.
But it’s hard.
It’s hard to do consistently. It’s hard to die a thousand deaths to yourself in order to serve your children. It’s hard to sacrifice your own comfort for the sake of your little ones. It takes energy. It takes effort. It takes time.
We found this a really liberating truth to hear.
In a media-saturated culture, envy and comparison in our parenting styles can be so pervasive. It’s easy (in the midst of all the parenting fads that come and go) to be fearful. It’s easy to panic that we must discover the perfect approach to parenting and that if we don’t, we’ll mess up our children. How wonderful that this isn’t the case!
We already know what to do – the Bible tells us.
Provide for our kids, love them, discipline them and point them to Jesus.
That will look different in each family and that’s also wonderfully liberating.
What works in your family, with your personalities and lifestyle will look very different to how we do it our family. But you can be sure of this, in every family, parenting sinful kids will require following simple principles which are actually very hard to do.
We as human parents follow in the footsteps of our heavenly Father God. You would imagine that it would be a simple thing for the all powerful creator of the universe to parent the children that he made. He knows how to provide, to love and to discipline – perfectly. For God, parenting is simple.
But you know what? Parenting is hard for him too. You see his children (a.k.a us) are pretty troublesome and stubborn.
As a good parent, God provides for us. He loves us, and he gives us boundaries to live our lives by and consequences when we stray outside of those boundaries. But we resist his kind parenting of us at every point. This is called sin.
Like a good Father, God decided not to abandon his children but to do everything within his power to change their hearts and to eradicate sin. It was an easy decision – he loves us, he was committed to winning us back.
But it was hard. It was costly. It required sacrifice, effort and commitment. In fact it was harder than we can imagine.
God decided to send his only begotten son Jesus to take the consequence of sin upon himself. Jesus died in the place of sinful human beings, as their substitute. He did this so that sinful human beings could be forgiven and brought back into relationship with their Heavenly Father. Now God’s children are reunited with their Father, through faith in Jesus.
So there we have it. The secret to great parenting? There isn’t one. Do the things that the Bible calls us to in whatever way works best in your situation.
Knowing what we need to do is simple. Actually doing it can be very hard.
But we model ourselves on the best parent – our Father in heaven. As creator of all, knowing how to parent us was simple. But actually doing it was very hard. The cost was bigger than we could ever imagine. So let’s parent our children empowered by his Spirit, reliant on him in the difficult times.
Parenting: simple but hard.