Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Standard of Christian Parenting

I turned my life over to Jesus when I was 24 years old, during my last year of college. I immediately sought out and joined a group that my dad had recommended years earlier called the Navigators.

That last year in Michigan, I mostly went to church by myself, and also went to the Navigators meetings. When we moved to South Florida, shortly before we were married, my wife, Laura, through her own journey of Faith Discovery also became a believer. At first, we went to Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale until we were led to our current church. (And anyone that knows us knows about the failed attempt at a church plant.)

Over the past decade, we've grown together in our Faith and Understanding of Jesus and His Mission. Through the good times and the bad. Interestingly, we seem to do the most growing during the bad times, when circumstances try to get the better of us.

When we turned 30, our biological clocks started ticking and we took seriously the idea of starting a family, though naive as to all that that would entail. Almost 4 years later, we were blessed with a little boy. This past year has been the hardest (economically) and also the greatest - emotionally, relationally, and spiritually - of our entire lives. This coming month, we are expecting a little girl, which I can imagine will only increase our joy exponentially.

We've both discussed the idea that, with only Grant by our side, at times, he seemed like a little side-kick. He was fun to have around, but not too much trouble. But with a little girl on the way, we are feeling more like a family. And we are seriously starting to lay down a plan on how we are going to raise them spiritually and practically.

For Christmas, my wife bought me a book called Revolutionary Parenting by George Barna - I wrote about it a few months ago. Obviously, I could kill myself reading a plethora of books about parenting, but I don't intend to.

Over the past decade, we've seen some great examples of parenting amongst some of the Christian friends that we've made. We cherry-picked some of their elements in order to form our own plan for raising our kids.

We've seen, first-hand, families that pray together every day, more than once a day even. We've seen families that engage their kids in discussions spanning Biblical and spiritual matters, as well as anything else that may be pertinent.

We knew one family, in particular, with six kids. The mother home schooled all six kids. At times, I would hear people at church criticize them for their lack of commitment to church or church activities. They were involved in church, but I think that people saw their potential for impact and were disappointed that they weren't more involved.

But now, with our own family forming, I think I can see more clearly the priorities of the "home-school" brood. With six kids and two adults, they were practically their own "small group". Let's face it, with that many kids, every day at home is basically a "cell church". Which makes me wonder. How many kids do you need to have, to take on that sort of function?

As we've discussed our plan for raising our children, we've both agreed that we are going to raise the standards by which we both were raised by our own parents. Having read Barna's recommendations for standards, I can't say that I would commit to all of the standards that he prescribes in his book. Not because I disagree with them on principle, but because I don't think that some of them are a realistic fit for our personalities and our family.

Also, as I've stated, there are some examples that we've seen first hand that we are definitely going to incorporate into our familial plan. Obviously, we never know what kind of curve balls God is going to throw at us, but we actually usually have a better batting average against curve balls anyways.


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