Friday, July 13, 2012

Parenting 101

  If there is one thing I am passionate about, it is parenting.  "Passionate" should not be confused with "perfect", however.

  I work very hard at being a good mom, but make no mistake, it is not my work that produces anything.  One of the greatest things I can do for my children is to have a repentant heart, understanding that my sinful nature makes it impossible for me to BE anything but sinful.  It is because of the act of Christ; His life, death and resurrection, producing faith in me by grace, that enables me to "look like" I am doing something.  I may say, "Thank you," when someone offers a compliment about my children.  I might even beam a little.  But there is no confusion within is all by the grace of God.

It is the Word which resides in me... in my mind.  It transforms the very process by which I think.  God's Word is the only parenting handbook I really need.    Daily reading, ingesting, and memorizing His teachings clarifies my goals for my children.  God's Word develops and works in me from the inside out.  It creates thoughts in my mind which weren't there before.  It affects what I say, how I react, what I teach.  I can't stress enough, to those who might be reading this blog, that God's Word is the key to good parenting.

So here are some Parenting "tips" I'd like to offer:

Read Scripture Daily:
The book of Proverbs is a wonderful place to start when looking for guidance in parenting.  There is so much about wisdom and instruction.  Each day, take a chapter and read through it with the intention of hearing what it says to the practicality of parenting.   Choose a verse to meditate on throughout the day. Conveniently, Proverbs has 31 chapters, one for each day of the month. Use it to become familiar with God.  Soon you will begin to hear his Word in your head as you encounter different situations within your vocation of parenting.
 I have a little frame with fabric behind the glass.  Using a dry erase marker, I write my chosen daily Proverb and put it in the kitchen where I am most likely to look at it throughout my day.

Attend a weekly Bible Study:
Sunday school isn't just for our children.  It is for us as well.  Our church offers two adult Sunday School classes to choose from.  Not only does regular instruction strengthen our knowledge of Scripture, it shows our children that they don't "graduate" from church once they're confirmed.  Attend Sunday school.  If you're one of those parents who commits to teaching on Sunday (like me), then find a mid week class that works with your schedule. Instruction in God's Word is essential to good parenting.

Attend the Divine Service:
So, it has been said, "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian."  No, perfect church attendance won't regenerate your sinful soul.  But God's Word does and God's Word is found in church.

 God's Word = Christ.  Baptism = Christ. Communion =Christ.

We receive Christ in the Divine Service, where He is preached and the sacraments are administered.  Christ is our salvation. Regularly attending the Divine Service and regularly receiving Christ, strengthens our faith and forgives our sins.  These are the most important tools we could ever ask for when parenting our children.

I realize that while the Scripture doesn't specifically tell you how to toilet train your 3 year old or what curfew to set for your teenager, it does give wisdom about God's creation and His design for it.  The problems of parenting often lie in our own state of unpreparedness.  Our unpreparedness often stems from the lack of time spent in God's Word.  Now, I could give you a list of proper parenting techniques... the "How to's of Timeouts" or the "Dangers of Dating" if you will, but that would be like working from the outside, in. Better than this approach, is to instead regularly ingest God's Word and have it reform our thinking and our approach from the inside, out.

In the fall, I plan to resume teaching the Mothers Class; third Tuesday of each month, 7:30 at the parsonage.