Parenting is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Period.
Maybe you feel the same way. When our babies are itty-bitty we watch out for their safety. As they grow older we try to instill a strong sense of right and wrong in them. Then when they get old enough to drive and have more freedoms, the need for their safety and godly decision-making abilities are even more necessary.
This is a picture of me around 1972 when I was 4 or 5. I am pushing around my new stroller with the new baby dolls I had received for Christmas. That’s when being a mama was so easy.
The one thing that has helped me more than anything is my relationship with my heavenly Father. When we live an authentic life before our children we can rest in Him. Of course, I’ve made mistakes; my girls have made mistakes, but at the end of the day, we each love Jesus. And that’s the point of parenting.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
“The way of sin is vexatious and dangerous. But the way of duty is safe and easy. Train children, not in the way they would go, that of their corrupt hearts, but in the way they should go; in which, if you love them, you would have them go. As soon as possible every child should be led to the knowledge of the Saviour.” Matthew Henry Commentary
The Pulpit Commentary says this about Proverbs 22:6:
“The verb translated “train” (chanak) means, first, “to put something into the mouth,” “to give to be tasted,” as nurses give to infants food which they have masticated in order to prepare it for their nurslings; thence it comes to signify “to give elementary instruction,” “to imbue,” “to train.”
This is an important truth – exposing our children to Jesus early in life insures they crave Him at some point. My mama always cooked large garden suppers. My parents would make me try the garden vegetables at least once. This is how I learned to love zucchini and squash. It’s funny how we can try a food, dislike it, and then a few months later, we find ourselves craving it.
My parents introduced me to the Lord early in life, too. They took me to church and talked to me about the things of God. There were years I did not live as someone who knew Christ, but as a young adult I returned to Him. When I returned to my childhood church after many years of being away, I felt so at home. I felt so clean just being in the house of God. Right then, I decided to rededicate my life to serving Jesus, and I’ve never looked back.
I once took a class and for our final we were each assigned to write and give an account of our spiritual heritage. The girl who sat next to me shared how her parents valued knowledge over religion. As such, their plan was to let their children decide on a theology for themselves as adults after conducting their own research.
I have to admit that after she finished her dissertation I was so tempted to ask, “Sooo, what did you choose?” The unfortunate truth was that she had chosen nothing. This is why it is so important to share Jesus with your children right from the beginning, so they will develop a craving for Him.
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8