Parenting with the Big Picture

This pains me as a Red Sox and Braves fan to write as the baseball season ends agonizingly for me – But what if tomorrow Bud Selig turned around and decided to change the way baseball games were scored? Let’s say the press conference goes like this: “I’ve noticed fundamentals have given way to home runs, so I want to make some changes. From now on runs will be determined by every 4 bases achieved (hitting, walks, errors, home runs) in an effort to make sure teams don’t just load up on sluggers but instead see bunting, walks, and base hits as valuable. I also am going to make a rule that says errors will now cost a team a run to make sure players are focused in on fundamentals of fielding and throwing. These rules take effect immediately and will be for the majors all the way to Little League.”

Obviously we know this type of change wouldn’t happen – but if it did, would it not change the entire framework for teaching baseball and how the game is played?

What if the primary goal, the big picture, of parenting was to present our children as mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28)? What if we thought most highly of our children’s faith and spiritual formation? This doesn’t mean pull your kid out of every sport, club, college application, or scholarship they’re working for. Those are good and noble things to pursue, we all dream of what our children can be – I know one of mine is for Samuel to be a Douglas who can play basketball )and be 6 feet tall!)  I also have dreams of him going to a great college and excelling at what he puts himself to.

When we look at our children through the metanarrative lens of Scripture, we begin to see a drastically different perspective than what culture tells us:

  • Creation – Children are a gift who are in the Image of God
  • Fall – Children are by nature and choice sinners
  • Redemption – Children, including yours and mine, need a Savior
  • Consummation – Children are eternal (in the words of The Sandlot: FOR-EV-ER)
This should cause us to re-evaluate things when it comes to parenting, the way we schedule our children’s activities, the priorities we want to instill in their life, and even our family dinners. Instead of behavior modification the goal becomes shepherding a child’s heart, a much more time-consuming and spiritually engaging task. Shepherding involves grace, rebuke, exhortation, encouragement, and community. Above all it comes under the sovereign grace of God, and that is the most humbling part of being a parent. My children are my potential brothers and sisters in Christ, so are yours. How great is that! That not only can you look at your son and love him as your child but also to look at him and love him as your brother in Jesus! My job isn’t to make my kids become Christians, my task is to lay the Gospel out before them and allow them to respond to Jesus as He becomes the one to captivate their hearts.
I want to propose some commitment time. On a photo of your child, write the year they turn 18. On the back, write down some goals you have for them with the “big picture” of being a mature believer in Christ in mind. The goals can be broken down into these:
  1. Head – What do you want them to know? How can you develop a biblical worldview? What about educational goals and priorities?
  2. Heart – What do you want them to value? What will your priorities be?
  3. Hands – What do you want them to do?
These are some suggestions I’ve found that have been helpful:
  • Intentional Bible reading and devotion/family worship time (over dinner, before bed) personally and with your children
  • Family missions – Instead of vacation, serve together. Moms & Dads, let your kids see you in action loving Jesus by serving others
  • Work to keep from being too busy, learn to say no, and determine your non-negotiables (we will not schedule anything on Friday because that is family night)
  • Read good books and encourage your kids to read good books too
  • Dads, love your wife and make sure your kids know how much you cherish her
  • Moms, love your husbands and make sure your kids know how much you respect him
  • Pray for your kids daily, hourly – I know you already do

One comment on “Parenting with the Big Picture

  1. Pray with your child each night when you put them to bed when they are young. Make it part of the routine. Let them hear you lift up their future in prayer and let them hear you give thanks for them as your child. Great discussion, Scott!

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