Which is Safe?

In Being Real, Home and Family, Perspective on January 19, 2012 by The Spillover

In light of the gospel, what’s the Christ-like way to raise our children? This is a question I ponder regularly.

Here’s a gut-check for all of us (myself included):

Are we doing right by our children by raising them to be safe, moral, proper, responsible members of society? When we’re chiefly concerned with their self-esteem, inclusion, fiscal responsibility, and civil productivity? Even if Jesus/church is a part of this equation? Even a big part?


Would doing right by our children entail teaching them the hard truths of the gospel, training them in holiness, never assuming the gospel but preaching to them like Jesus taught people, showing them how many (even “proper”) people do not have salvation, and, when they’re old enough, strapping them up with the armor of God, praying over them, and sending them off to the worst, most dangerous part of the battle, even if it cost them their life?

Which is really the best for them?

Which is really safe?

11 Responses to “Which is Safe?”

  1. Then again, it isn’t really an either/or question. We should be doing both. After all…

    …”fathers, do not exasperate your children” (self-esteem)…
    …”if a man does not work, he does not eat” (civil productivity)
    …”obey my commandments” (moral)


    The two are not mutually exclusive, of course. The trick is ensuring you are doing BOTH, not just one or the other. And I believe your point is parents often focus on the first of the two options moreso than the second, which is certainly dangerous. I also think we sometimes “send them off” before they are ready, because we haven’t done enough of the second part, thinking the first part is enough to prepare them for battle!

    Nice thoughts, Adam.

  2. I am not a parent, but I often think about how I want to be as a parent to my children. If and when I actually have them lol.

    This is tough.

    As a parent, we want what is best for our children. We want to always protect them and keep them under our wing. What parent wouldn’t? However, I believe this prohibits their growth.

    I think to be effective as a parent it’s important to set the foundation. The foundation of course is faith and a relationship with God. To instill values in them that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. More than that to be an example to them as wife & husband and nurture them, but not spoil them.

    Because the truth is, as a child grows older and develops into the person they are going to be, they are going to be faced with changing environments, have different circle of friends who will impact their lives in big and small ways. They are going to be influenced by the right and wrong things. This is what I like to call “Life.” And as parents, we can’t control life.

    However, we can control how we act in their presence, how supportive we are when they make mistakes and do things we won’t agree with. Once the foundation is in place, they are able to grow and learn from it. That’s our job as parents, setting the foundation.

    Security comes from knowing we gave them the foundation for growth and watching that foundation fold throughout their life.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Julie. You’re right, it’s quite crazy. With my two little boys, my first reaction is always to shield them, protect them, block anything that might harm them. But ultimately…spiritually…I can’t see how keeping them safe behind a white picket fence is a good eternal choice. I have to ask myself, do I want them to be making disciples? Do I care about their *eternal* rewards from the God who said “deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow me” and “do not fear those who can kill the body”?

      This is quite an interesting discussion to have, even if just within one’s own mind.

  3. Raising our kids with true self esteem, morals, and civil productivity should be a result/product of teaching and modeling the ways of Christ, not just as goals on their own. Our own obedience and worship should put us in the right place to depend on God to help us train them to be His servants – and then to release them to His will. A God-centered world view based on a relationship with Him is really the only way to true self esteem, morals, and responsibility. Without that, self esteem becomes selfish, morals change, and civic responsibility becomes self centered.
    Dear Lord, please strengthen me to obey you and continually release my children to you.

  4. So…based on this post and these comments, is it safe to assume that I am a TOTAL nutcase for not wanting my kids to EVER leave home?? 😉

  5. Bonnie:

    You’re absolutely right. In the parenting class I taught, that was a primary focus. The number one way to affect our kids, spiritually, is to be spiritual ourselves. As my brother once pointed out, no one knows your flaws, spiritually, better than your own kids! If we are seeking the heart of God, walking according to His statutes, etc., our kids will see that and claim it for themselves. But only when it is true holiness, rather than the outward “show” we, as fallen humans, tend to put on.

  6. I heard a speaker once talk about raising his kids like arrows in a quiver. When they are young they are blunt field arrows, and his job was to sharpen them into fiery weapons, and then shoot them out to conquer the world for the Jesus. As parent we want to protect our kids, but protection is something we need to share with the Lord. If we look at a baby and say, “My goal is to raise a godly adult” that will color all we do with that baby for the next 18 years. We will teach discernment, not rules blindly followed; we will teach life skills, not just educate them. We will expose them to sinful people as people to be loved by Jesus, and help them understand the difference between participating in sin and loving sinners. We’ll raise their self esteem by teaching the value of hard work and responsibility. We’ll actively look for ways to put some hardship into their little lives so they grow tougher and stronger. The home is not a playgound; it is a training ground. There’s lots of fun in playing the game well but it is far more effective if you have strength, skill, teamwork, and the ability to think independently under stress.

    • Wow, Miss Givens…thank you so much for these thoughts. I just love this. Everything you said is convicting to me, personally. Thank you.

      I’m going to save this comment from you.

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