For the last two years I’ve written an article about parenting around this same time in May. Both articles, ironically, have to do with discipline. I was actually thinking about writing a new piece on parenting just last week, but I never got around to it. Some of that content was worked out in Sunday’s sermon, though, and I filing the other thoughts for later, God willing.
I’m not sure what the connection is between this time of year and a personal refresh on parenting. There’s probably something there. Below are the two articles and the sermon.
The Long Arc of Real Love (May 12, 2014)
Packed away in the laundry room of my basement, off the beaten paths of normal household traffic, smashed together with the dried-up ladybugs and an occasional spider, are twenty garbage bags filled with toys.
They belong to our kids. . . .
Either ‘Okay’ or ‘Thank You’ (May 11, 2015)
My five-year-old can’t stop saying the f-word.
It just happened. I didn’t teach it to her. Her mom didn’t either. But again and again — and every Saturday without fail — she wants to know, in a voice tinged with concern, “What are we going to do today for fun?” . . .
Jesus in Our Details (May 8, 2016)
The Bible says that when our kids obey us it makes Jesus happy — but how many times as parents do we work out of this logic when we train our children?
Most of time, if I am honest, I want my kids to obey because it makes life easier for me. I want my kids to obey because correcting and correcting and correcting takes so much time and energy, and this wouldn’t be so hard if they just did what I said.
But the Bible says that my kids’ obedience results in pleasing the Lord. Which means, what’s mainly at stake when my children are asked to obey is not the convenience of dad, it’s the happiness of Jesus.
And understanding this will change the way we parent, because I want them to obey not mainly for what it means for me, but because I want them to make Jesus happy. I want them to participate in bringing delight to the heart of Jesus. When I say it that way — when it’s put that way — there’s nothing more I could want for my children’s lives than that. What I want more than anything for — Elizabeth and Hannah and Micah and John Owen and Noah — is for them to please Jesus. . . .