By Cally Logan, Crosswalk.com
We live in a world of strong opinions, polar opposite views, and quick assumptions. It seems everyone has a word to offer of how they think children should be raised, whether their two cents were requested or not. In the discussion of parenting, Christian parents are often considered as too overprotective, but are they?
The Role of a Parent
The role of being a parent is a great responsibility and one the Lord views with great importance. Psalm 127:3 shares that "children are a gift from the Lord," and in being so, gifts require proper handling. Just as in the Parable of the Talents, there is a duty and trust given to someone when they have a child. That being said, taking an active and caring role in a child's life is necessary for them to be encouraged to grow into noble people. Just as Proverbs 22:6 encourages, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." It is not merely a suggestion but a call to rise in action to give your child every tool in preparation for the life that is ahead.
How Does God Parent Us?
God is not only our Creator; He is our Father as well. Earthly parents should correct, advise, and raise a child just as God does with us. Consider how the Lord has been a Father to you in your own journey. When has He offered mercy and a kind and loving hand when you needed it most? When has He been stern in direction so that you did not fall into a deeper, harder consequence? When we look at how God is the perfect parent, we can then imitate Him in our own actions as parents and caretakers. Hebrews 12:6 reminds us that God does not discipline us to be harsh or hurtful, "'My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.'" His disciplining is because He loves us and wants what is best for us. The world may not understand why Christian parents are often more protective and hold a higher standard for their children, but the root heart is that they desire to protect them from more severe consequences.
What Is Permissible?
There are various places where sensitivities and issues exist for every person in ways that they do not for others. For example, some have a difficult time with boundaries, whereas others can easily adhere to boundaries with no issues. In our world, everything is permissible, but not all things are beneficial. Paul reminds us of this in 1 Corinthians 6:12 "'Everything is permissible for me,' but not everything is beneficial." This holds importance in parenting because there remains an option to allow everything as permissible, but are all things really beneficial? Will allowing your child to participate in every whim they desire actually help them in life? This is where it is vital to invite the Holy Spirit into your daily walk as a parent.
What Does it Mean to Parent with God?
God gave us a great gift through His Holy Spirit. His Spirit is there to guide, direct, encourage, and correct us. When it comes to parenting, do not lean so proudly upon your own understanding when it comes to decisions, but invite His Spirit to guide you. This is where knowing what is beneficial for your child specifically will become clear through His truth. For example, when I was growing up, the Harry Potter series was in full swing. Books were released every year, and it all was directed primarily at my age group. My mother did not feel that those books would be beneficial or right for me to read and participate in. I know so many people thought she was being overprotective, but she did what was right for me. As an adult, I am so thankful that she listened to the Holy Spirit for direction for me in those books. I have a sensitive heart and spirit, and at such a tender age, it could have confused me greatly as to what is of the light and what is of the enemy. Although I called her overprotective at the time, I now thank her as an adult that she stood her ground and did what was right for me at that age. My mother parented with God, and the result was that instead, I did not fall into the consequence of participating in things that were not in my best interest.
Should the Opinions of Others Matter?
Everyone and their mother will have an opinion of how a child should be raised. Many times, the wisdom of others can be beneficial and something God will bring about to help you in your journey as a parent, but all things must be taken back to God. Ultimately, He knows what is best for your child and your family as a whole, and it is His opinion that matters most. There will be times when you can ease up and reduce the boundaries or rules, and there will be times when you should have a firm stance on issues. All of these things should be taken and carried out by what God is urging you to do, by what His Word instructs you in doing, and by what God has made clear by His Spirit. At the end of the day, His opinion is the only one that will last and matter in the grand scheme of things.
There will always be people who think that you are too overprotective, just as there will also always be people who say you are too hands-off with your children. What matters most is if you are walking in obedience to what the Word of God is saying and to what He is guiding you to do as a parent. Let His voice be the loudest in your life and the only opinion that truly matters in how you raise and protect the gifts He gave you.
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Cally Logan is an author and US History teacher from Richmond, Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys mentoring youth and spending time in nature. Her book, Hang on in There, Girl! Will be available everywhere on April 1, 2022. Check her out on Instagram and Twitter, @CallyLogan and TikTok Cally_Logan.