“The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” Genesis 3:20
There’s no shortage of advice available to parents these days. This blog is just one more example. But how do you know what advice to follow?
Answering that question depends on what you think parenting is. Do you see it as a job to get done, a responsibility to discharge, or part of your contribution to the world?
In some sense, parenting is all those things, but they can’t account for the drive, or fear, or pride, or despair we as parents can feel. Parenting is so much more.
It’s hard to define parenting because we don’t start with a clear picture of what it is. Our experience starts as children, so our assumptions about it form before we know it.
Because we all had parents, we already have a category for parenting deeply etched in our minds. But we are largely unaware of how incomplete that picture is.
Parenting is defined, not by the kids we raise, but by the adults they become.
Some parenting advice encourages us to deal with our childhood problems as the solution to our problems with our kids. But if they don’t address the bigger question of what it means to become an adult, they leave us stuck in an unhelpful place.
The Bible looks all the way back in its view of parenting. It starts in the Garden of Eden, with Adam and Eve’s sin. Every human being ever born begins life under that curse.
The most significant thing we got from our parents is our sin. That’s what all our children get from us, and that is a problem we can’t resolve.
But God has done what we cannot. He sent his son, Jesus, the second Adam, to die for our sin. By faith in him we can be free of the curse (Rom. 5:19).
Sharing that hope with our children is the greatest gift we can give them. Encouraging that hope as it takes root in their hearts is the most significant thing that will shape who they will become.
A lot of the Bible doesn’t talk about parenting specifically. But all of the Bible talks about sin, it’s consequences, and our need for a sacrificial Savior.
Read Scripture looking for reminders of the love of your Heavenly Father. Then look for parenting advice that helps you connect that to your family through the gift of his Son.
When you find that advice, ask God for the grace and discernment to follow it.