Parenting, the “activity of bringing up a child as a parent.”
A simple definition to an overwhelming task.
Is parenting a child-centric activity?
Is parenting a parent-centric activity?
The standard definition seems to have something essential missing. For parenting seems to be more of a becoming something greater than what is just an activity ‘being done’.
Parenting is a mindset too, a set of attitudes!
Parenting is a becoming, a balance between stoking dreams while coaxing touches of reality. There is an art to giving chase to wild imaginations and elevating the truths tucked within the fiction. Hopes are born, as the child’s experiences in life grow. Some are realized, others are crushed. Such experiences impact the parent too. A parent has to steady their heart at even the slightest of tugs the child’s experiences can invoke.
“It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.”
– Elizabeth Stone
A loving parent cannot barricade hurt or fear, for a plethora of sources come and go as swiftly as a cup of water can be held in the hand. The power is there to shelter fear or aide in sequestering it. Sin, whether from others, or one’s own action, can leave scars for life. In order to navigate these wounds, we, as parents, must walk alongside to help the hurt casts its eye toward hope. As parents, we falter, and children sense it, as the trembling of the ground to the smallest of quakes. Hurt should not be the taboo we cover with Band-Aids; hurt must be dealt with so no ‘snow-ball effect’ can turn disastrous.
Parenting is like a beautiful painting, it does not just happen,
it requires intentionality.
Parenting is a becoming, meant to be the brush strokes of sacrificial love wide and deep into the canvas of the soul. Life will build, clear, obstruct, and impose onto the scene of the landscapes they traverse. A parent must learn to relinquish the fact that how the child maneuvers their journey in life is not dependent on the parent. Rather, the parent, should minister a consistent portrayal of what it means to walk this life by faith. The parent is the sinner who validates the sojourning of life as a saint of Christ. Children are not meant to be a reflection of the parent. A parent is called to faithfully “Train up a child in the way they should go…” (Proverbs 22:6). The child is their own sinner, and must become their own saint of Christ.
“There is no such thing as a perfect parent so just be a real one.” – Sue Atkins
A selfless parent brings an open book for the child to display their strengths and weaknesses. The parent’s role is to study the child’s weaknesses and help them understand how to manage them. The home is the venue for the child to test their strengths out, hone their skills, and qualify them.
Training is not battling; training is equipping.
Training should not be provoking; training should be pivotal.
Parenting is joyfully exhausting since the goal is to uplift the child’s
body, spirit, and soul.
Parenting is a becoming, where opinions must remain flexible enough to listen, and truth the only nonnegotiable equalizer for parent and child. While protecting and equipping are the day to day work for the parent, rest is found in the calloused knees of prayer’s concession that the child’s soul is not theirs to keep. Moments where tidbits of wisdom can be delightfully shared may seem as the flicker of the firefly. Nevertheless, the truth can be embedded into their hearts when love envelopes their confidence.
“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.”
– Charles R. Swindoll
A honest parent admits when wrong, and assures when right. The parent should be the first to ask forgiveness and just as eager to grant it. This is how the foundation of trust is secured. Love in word and action; laughter in enjoyment and solace. A child consumes the day, but a parent invests in their future. Through the struggles, the wrestling, the arguments, and the endless repetitions all serve as a sanctification for the parent, and the child’s preparation. Respect is not lost if never allowed to lay in ruins. Honor is upheld when the heart is shared.
Parenting is like waiting for the fragrant blossoming of Spring,
it takes time.
Parenting is a becoming, with hopes and dreams for the child staying relatively simple. However, for the child, hopes and dreams are complex things to figure out. Parents see the twinkling wonder, the disappointment of shattered expectation, the nervous tension, the satisfied fulfillment of successes, the innocence, the awakened curiosities, and the quiet uncertainty within their children. For the child, the discovery of self can be confusing to sort through.
“Parents can only give good advice, but the final forming of a person’s character
lies in their own hand.” – Anne Frank
An understanding parent discerns how outside pressures affect a child’s perception of themselves. For the child this takes time to comprehend. Be encouraged, that to understand the “Peace! Be still!” (Mark 4:39), our children will need to experience the howl of the winds around them, and the turbulent swashing of the waters beneath them. The knowledge of evil is quickly gained, while the knowledge of the good needs frequent reminders.
“Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.”
In memory, I want to be a signpost parent, for the crossroads, pointing toward the paths of righteousness. I do not want to be a fixture of the broad road’s illusion of grander, and end broken by sin’s destruction.
My footprints leave the imprints of my weaknesses, my children know them well. My prayer is that the tread in my footprints bear the grip of forgiveness, grace, and mercy from Christ. The words I speak in time will turn into a silent voice in their mind, but the hymns we sing together, the Word of God we read together are the echoes where our spirits knit together.
For now, I am their arm bearer and an introducer to the whole armor of God available to them, piece by piece. So that “… when he (they) are old he (they) will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6) but find security in choosing Christ over the vain traditions of men.
My hope is that they will discover how good it is for each day to rise up with:
- Ephesians 6:10-18 as their dress of character,
- Psalm 3 as their morning prayer,
- Romans 12 as their daily guide to living, and
- Psalm 4 as their day’s closing meditation.
Parenting is more than an activity, for such is a responsibility
meant to be a privilege, a pleasure in the development and
well-being of one another’s soul.
As parents we know their birth day, but know not the number of them. Enjoy every day!
“… no greater joy than to hear that my children are
walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4
written by Michelle Kelso Kafer